"Can I hold your baby?"
When I ask people that question I can hear the doubt flit across their features while they consider whether or not I am safe. I'd like to tell you their fears are unfounded, and for the most part, they are. I have after all raised three children of my own, been a nanny in New York, and babysat for any number of nieces, nephews, and neighbor kids.
However, there was one day, when Zack was a toddler, my sister won't forgive me for. Even now that its been 11 years.
The day of Zack's third birthday, my sister was working and trying to take care of travel for her older two kids when she asked me to take care of her 8 month old daughter. I happily agreed. My niece McKenna was adorable, easy going and I thought it would be fun. That evening my family, along with all the in-laws were due to arrive for a birthday party to celebrate Zack's big day. A traditional cake wouldn't feed all of these people. I needed more food. I started to make a sheet cake for the occasion when disaster struck.
Lots of people have told me this didn't happen because I'm blind, but my sister still holds my poor eyesight, at least partially, responsible.
I carried baby McKenna on one hip, a dozen eggs in the other hand, As I crossed the kitchen to the cake batter. crouched in front of the refrigerator was my toddler. I caught my foot on his leg, knocking him over backward and upsetting the precarious balance I had going on.
Falling over Zack caused him to burst into tears. The carton of eggs flew onto the hard wood floors. The baby and I began our nose dive for the floor beside Zack. I couldn't fall on the baby or on my son so I extended my left leg in front of my body in a stiff kickstand move, arching above zack's head. McKenna remained on my hip, with out a single tear streaming down her cheeks as I ended up with my left leg hyper-extended.
Notice here, all of the children were unharmed. I soothed Zack's fright, bounced McKenna to calm her agitation with Zack's crying and tried not to scream with the electric pain shooting through my leg.
Unfortunately it was not over. The eggs had to be scrubbed from the kitchen. The cake had to be put in the oven and I had to drag my leg, now swollen to twice its normal size around as I readied the party.
When everyone arrived, I was so frazzled I undercooked the cake and ended up spending 40$ on store bought confections instead. I forgot to call my brother and sister in law to invite them and they were offended. my sister was traumatized by the whole story.
By this time I was in so much pain I was stretched out on a chair, crying and apologizing for the mess.
After Zack went to spend the night with his previously forgotten cousins, my husband took me to the Emergency Room for a brace and crutches. Now the blind lady had not only a busy toddler, but no way to hold my cane and an awkward set of crutches to move around on. I can laugh at myself now. Picturing the flying eggs, crying kids and cake disasters reminds me of old "I Love Lucy" episodes. My mom would have been proud.
The point is--Bad things happen to all of us. It's why God tells us about our heavenly home. We need the reminder so we'll laugh at our mishaps and believe there is a better world waiting for us. It could've been worse, but it wasn't. What ever hands held me up that day looked out for the kids, knowing I couldn't have handled it if they'd been collateral damage. I sacrificed my knee, but it was worth it in the long run. Every trial is a pile of manure when it happens. Its up to us whether it just stinks or if something beautiful grows out of it.