This post about the Arkansas Children’s Festival of Stars Toy Drive is sponsored by Arkansas Children’s Hospital. All opinions are my own.
Yep. That’s my favorite T-shirt.
But not anymore.
Why am I showing you my ruined and bloody T-shirt?
Because it’s Giving Tuesday, and that shirt represents the reason I have a charity heavy on my mind to donate to.
I’ve never had a charity that was near and dear to my heart like I see so many share about on social media. We’ve donated to different charities every year, but other than our church it’s never been anything I had a strong personal connection to.
All that changed nearly a month ago when we visited the ER at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Firsts with your kids are usually exciting.
But a first ER trip, definitely not something that’s going into the baby book.
If I had a baby book.
It was a typical Saturday, except it had been FANTASTIC. One of those perfect days that you look back on and think “Man! That was a great weekend!”.
My husband and I were sitting at the bar after dinner catching up on the day and snacking. He had been out hunting with a friend, the kids and I had been out to do a little shopping.
The children were being wild, and I was exhausted.
When Robert said he wanted his Sissy to read him a book in our bed I jumped at the chance.
I may have even said “Please for the love of God go.”
They weren’t back there five minutes when we heard a sound that I will never, ever, forget followed by screams.
I jumped up and ran for the bedroom.
When I got there he was sitting in the bed crying and bleeding from the forehead and Tenley was staring in horror and calling for us.
I don’t think I’ll ever get the image out of my head.
My husband was already headed down the hall but I yelled “It’s BAD!”
Robert had somehow fallen onto the corner of my nightstand. A corner I never would have considered sharp.
Immediately we knew he needed stitches.
We started frantically trying to get ready to leave.
Tenley in pjs.
Robert completely naked except a diaper.
My husband in full camo from his day in the woods.
Me wearing my rattiest pair of pj pants, a tshirt, and my “house” flip flops that were labeled just like that with black sharpie. We were the epitome of a hot mess.
We drove through my best friends house on two wheels to drop Tenley off. Thank the Lord for good friends ready and willing at a moments notice to take your baby, even better when they are on your way to the ER.
We started talking about which hospital to go to.
Regular hospital which is closer. Or a specialized Children’s hospital about ten more minutes down the road.
I very adamantly voted for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. I knew this was going to be hard, but I felt confident that ACH was more prepared to handle a scared 2 year old in a way that another ER couldn’t.
We flew there. I mean flew. My husband is a very good driver, I’ve always known that, but he really showed me that night. He must have been a race car driver in a past life! While he navigated the freeway and what felt like every idiot in town, I tried to keep Robert awake.
I’ve never been more grateful for Paw Patrol and thanks to his obsession he was able to tell me their names and colors. When he started to fall asleep I would purposefully get them wrong and he would open his eyes and say “No Mommy! Marshall is the fire puppy!” I didn’t know I’d ever be glad to be so knowledgeable of a kid’s cartoon.
After what felt like an eternity, but thanks to my race car husband it wasn’t, we made it to the hospital.
I was right. It was hard. Maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through as a mom. Seeing your babies in pain is brutal. Not being able to do anything about it is excruciating.
The people around us are what kept us calm. The nurses and dr’s handled everything like champs. Obviously it’s their job, but holy moly are they good at it. Even the guard at the front door was fantastic. I would later find a security clearance sticker on my shoulder where he slapped it on as he rushed me inside.
Not only did they help Robert, they helped us. We were scared and we were stressed. We were covered up with guilt over how we could let this happen. It may not have been rational guilt but it was our guilt, and we were wallowing in it.
Every nurse that came in our room had a story about their own stitches and a sweet word to say about how often it happens, or a funny story about how crazy boys are, all to make two very worried and guilt ridden parents feel better.
At one point I looked down at my sweaty half naked two year old and saw that he was covered in black dog hair. I realized that the blanket I grabbed on the way out the door must have been one that our new puppy had been laying on. I was mortified! Our sweet nurse commiserated with me over crazy puppies and worked to convince me it wasn’t that bad. She was lying, there was so much dang lab hair, but she gave reassuring me a valiant effort!
These are all things they didn’t have to do, they chose to, for us. To make a hard situation a little easier, and good Lord do they all deserve a raise for handling my wild boy.
You can imagine how this kid, who throws a fit just having to take medicine at home, handled being poked and prodded and preapared for stitches. Don’t even get me started on the hell we went through getting him stitched. Still the nurses and dr’s were a solid, calming presence through the whole ordeal. 7 stitches later we had made it through the most terrible moments of our parenthood.
My sweet boy got a big red popsicle and a new toy car, one that was probably donated during Festival of the Stars. Incredible how the presence of a new toy can quickly dry up tears!
We left broken, and sad, but so thankful it wasn’t worse and so grateful to have such a wonderful hospital in our town. We were traumatized. We honestly still are. Poor Robert is not allowed to have any fun anymore!
However, we made it through, in large part thanks to the wonderful staff at ACH.
So here I sit on this Giving Tuesday, with a kid who’s cut is getting better every day, and a new cause that is so near and dear to my heart.
Robert and I will be hand delivering toys to the ACH Festival of the Stars on December 14th and we would love you to join us! Bring an unwrapped toy and come hang out and enjoy festive music, snacks and cocoa, and special guests!
I’ll be taking the kids to pick out toys to donate this week and we will pray over each one that it will calm and delight it’s recipient as much as Robert’s truck did for him that night.
If you can’t make it on the 14th here is a list of toy drop off locations or you can easily donate by clicking here!
All donations made today are being matched dollar for dollar!
This is a hospital full of people who turned my scariest parenting moment into something a little easier to handle. They have blessed me and I would love to bless them in return.
Thank you for considering this wonderful place when making your Giving Tuesday donations!