Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Day the Filing Cabinet Fell...

...on Tobin.


Such a familiar feeling, known to all of us who inhabit this planet--and today, I got a whopping serving of it.  Oh, I'm not talking about the way my nose wrinkled up when I went into the garage and realized that I must have run over a skunk carcass somewhere on my way home from voting.  I'm not referring to the feeling of chagrin when I realized exactly how many potato chips I had downed while absentmindedly finishing my lunch and reading at the same time.  I'm not thinking of how I stayed up way too late last night and didn't want to get out of bed this morning.  

I'm talking about how, late this morning, soon after Jeff's mom had left the house with my mom for a ladies' lunch out at our local tea house, I was in our downstairs room with Josiah and David and Tobin, Josiah was playing the piano, I was focusing on him as I listened and gave suggestions and answered questions, and Tobin--my adored Tobin Bear--was opening the drawers of a tall, four-drawer filing cabinet we have next to our computer desk.  This is where I get the sick feeling in my stomach...the thought that if I had just been paying more attention to Tobin, nothing bad would have happened...the sensation of "where is the rewind button?  can't I just do this moment over?  please?  PLEASE???"

The filing cabinet started to fall.  On Tobin.  The big, heavy, crammed-full-of-papers beast of a filing cabinet began its descent; and my sweet little fragile child stood in the way.  In the tiniest portion of a second, my attention completely left Josiah and focused fully on Tobin.  During the previous blink of an eye, I was not even consciously aware of the fact that he was pulling out the drawers of the filing cabinet.  But in that blink of an eye, my heart exploded with fear and I screamed, "God!  God!" over and over as I ran to him, lifted the filing cabinet, told him to move out from under it, realized that his right foot was caught, lifted the cabinet higher, and got him free from it.  In the next eye-blink, I realized David was asking in a terrified voice, "Is he going to die?", and I heard myself answer, "No, he's not going to die."  I scooped Tobin up, carried him up to the living room, sat on the couch, and let my tears flow with his as he wailed and wailed.

Already, an ugly line had appeared on his leg.  A short scratch on one side of it caught Tobin's attention, but the deep purple bruise looked far more menacing to me.  I felt certain he must have broken his leg, and I was envisioning a trip to the hospital, x-rays being taken, a cast being put on (I, who have never had a broken bone, was secretly jealous as a child when a friend or classmate would break a bone and get a cast, generating all sorts of attention and sympathy, not to mention the signatures and smiley faces people would decorate the cast with!...but with Tobin today, that was one cast I was not looking forward to seeing!).  But before I loaded all the boys into the van for a trip to our local ER, I did the only sensible thing:  I called my dad.  As I have uncountable times before, I thanked God that my dad is a doctor and that he lives so close to us!  He came right up the hill and brought peace into the home as soon as he walked in the door.  It was a little hard to examine Tobin's leg and discern exactly the extent of the injury because Tobin was still crying quite hard and couldn't answer Dad's questions with any degree of clarity.  But Tobin was able to wiggle his toes--a promising sign that no break had occurred.  Dad's instructions were to give him some pain medicine, put a cold pack on the bruise, and do lots of cuddling--directions which I followed to a T!  :)  Tobin cried for quite a long time, but eventually quieted down as I read story after story to him.  I think he stopped crying so he could hear the words of the story.  :)

During the next few hours, Dad checked in with us a few more times; and each time, Tobin seemed to act more normal and moved his leg in a more regular manner.  I asked him a few times about his foot, because it seemed to me that it had been caught under one of the drawers and might have been really damaged by that; but each time, he insisted that it was his leg that hurt, not his foot.  I'm guessing that the cabinet struck his leg in that spot during its initial descent, when it had the most force behind it.  

As I was snuggling with Tobin on the couch, Josiah wanted a turn.  He and Tobin pretended to be asleep...
...and then David came and wanted to join the fun.  More pretend sleep followed...
 ...but then they couldn't help it.  They had to burst out laughing.  :)
Tobin ate a little lunch, and then I carried him up to his room for a nap.  A little later when I checked on him, I discovered this...
 ...his sweet hand clutching My Final Answer (a Bible trivia book), even while he was sleeping.
Of course, I had to lean down and give him kisses.  And of course, my heart welled up in thanksgiving at the way God protected him.  It could have been so much worse.

After all of this, I went back downstairs to our library and tried to get the filing cabinet set back up.  You know what?  That thing is heavy!  I'm not quite sure how I was able to lift it off him so quickly...except to say that the way God designed us with the unbelievably fast rush of adrenaline that gives herculean strength is amazing!  And, if I could have seen into the spiritual realm, maybe, just maybe, an angel was helping me lift it. You think?


Thinking about the idea of regret, of wishing that I could go back even one minute in time so that I could do things differently, made me think of what I want to share for 30 Days Thankful today.  I know I wrote yesterday that I was only going to share about "beautiful and pleasant" things, but here I am, only on the second day, and already breaking the rules!  :)  But this encounter that I'll describe does stick in my head as a defining moment when I learned a very important lesson in tact.

Encounter #2
My maternal grandfather suffered from Alzheimer's Disease, and had it for many, many years before he died.  When I was a child, I did not fully understand what was going on with him; and on one occasion, I insensitively blurted out something that I soon wished I could take back.

As I remember it, Granddad, Grandma, Mother, my brother David, and I were having a picnic at the James Buchanan Birthplace, a spot not too far (relatively speaking) from my grandparents' farm in southern Pennsylvania.  I think that was the only time we ever did that, and I'm guessing that we probably stopped there on the way to or from a doctor's appointment or a shopping trip in one of the nearby towns.  As we were spreading our things on a picnic table, I noticed that someone had set the silverware out by the plates...but had not done it correctly (knife on the right side with the curved side facing the plate, spoon to the right of that, fork on the left side, all lined up neatly).  I spoke up and perhaps even laughed about it, wondering aloud who could be so silly as to set the table incorrectly?!  Why, everybody knows how it's supposed to be done!  

A quick shushing from my mother, and the realization that my granddad had set the table to the best of his limited and fading ability, made me long to take back those words.  I wasn't sure if Granddad had heard me; and if he had, would he even remember what I said?  But I hated the thought that my careless speech had perhaps caused him embarrassment and shame.

Hasty speech?  Bad.
Thoughtfulness before opening one's mouth?  Good.
Tact?  Absolutely necessary!
Lesson learned?  YES!

Today, I'm thankful that even in those moments when I'm looking for a rewind button because I can't stand what just happened, God is not.  He knew it was going to happen, and He already has a plan to redeem the situation--whether it be through teaching a small boy to not play with the filing cabinet...or teaching a young girl to guard her tongue and speak with prudence.


Julie said...

Davene, I am so sorry for your scare and so thankful for your dad and so thankful that Tobin is ok. Sending a hug for your heart!

Misty said...

Things like that are so incredibly scary! I'm so glad Tobin is OK. We have had our share of "near misses" around here as well. (The day Elissa fell of the climbing wall at the children's museum comes to mind!) You can't pay attention to every child every second of the day. Thankfully God can! I would recommend anchoring all dressers and bookshelves and tall filing cabinets to the wall though. After a friend "an online friend) lost her sweet little baby (not even two years old) when a dresser came crashing down on him. She started a website but I can't find it. Here is the news article though...http://www.ydr.com/ci_8790513?IADID=Search-www.ydr.com-www.ydr.com
Anyway, The day that I learned about that I made Chris anchor everything to the wall. I'm really glad I did because I can't tell you how many times I walk in a room and find Ana sitting a drawer!(OK, stepping off my soapbox now)

Beth said...


I love your blog.

I love the way you write. You are an eloquent, gifted writer.

I also admire your photography. You truly have an eye for it and think of many clever, creative ideas.

Now - to respond to THIS post...

I am SO thankful that Tobin is okay. How scary. I had a few scares of my own yesterday. Nothing gets your heart pumping quite like parenting small children(and probably big children too!). :)

What a reminder also about guarding our tongue and not speaking too quickly. How often have I caught something after it was already out of my mouth and wished with all my might that I could rewind the clock just a few seconds.

Keep writing. It is such an encouragment to me.

Valerie said...

Glad Tobin is ok! A couple of weeks ago Adaiah fell off the couch and landed on her forehead - on a toy. I think I cried just as hard as she did. I was right there. She was leaning on me, but my back was towards her so I couldn't grab her and down she went. :(

Again, glad Tobin is ok. Love the pictures of the boys snuggling and giggling on the couch. :)

Mike and Katie said...

I'm so glad Tobin is okay. Dealing with the what could have happened is always so much worse than dealing with what did happen.

(I'm going to go find the drill now to secure that dresser Christiana was climbing on today.)

Liberty said...

Ok, another reason why I cry when I read your blog. I can just picture the events with the file cabinet. I'm so thankful Tobin is okay. Isn't it amazing how much strength God gives mothers when we need it. I can hear your dad's voice calming you all. What a blessing to have them so close!

I love you!