Thursday, November 10, 2011

Our EMT Rescue!

It was the worst of times...that became the best of times.

The only one to be blamed for this harrowing adventure is me and another one of my amnesia mommy-brain moments!   All it takes is the smell of freshly baking bread from Subway and I forget that four children under age six and a busy hospital cafeteria (with no highchairs!) would more than likely NOT be a winning combination!

Me and my little darlings had just rode down from the sixth floor at the hospital, where we were visiting a family friend, to the ground floor: home of the cafeteria and of course, delicious Subway bread baking in the oven.  I was just about to punch the button that would take us back to the parking lot and then on to get lunch at home, but my hunger caused me to temporarily forget that this situation spelled nothing but T-R-O-U-B-L-E and exclaimed on a whim, “Hey kids--let’s eat here today!”

It only took about two seconds after I sat down with all the kids in the hospital cafeteria (that was so packed we could scarcely even find a table for my crew!) that my sanity returned and I thought to myself, “WHAT was I thinking?”

Miraculously, some food was actually consumed amidst the tornado of flying lettuce, while my one-year-old(who I gave up trying to hold in my lap while stuffing my own face) did laps around our table and a Subway worker returned a little pink glittery shoe she found in their restaurant (how did they know it belonged to Miss EvaLee?!).

I was just wondering where I had stashed my Tums as I could feel the heartburn coming on from the marvelous combination of me inhaling my food and my blood pressure rising while I tried to keep all my children lassoed within a reasonable distance of our table.

Alas, it was my precious three-year-old son that made the worst of times take a turn for the...worster.

“Mommy!  I have to go poo-poo!  If I don’t go right now, I might REALLY go in my pants!  Can we HURRY!!!???”

Oh, sure, don’t worry about me actually EATING!  I was attempting to get my second bite of a sandwich since I’d been popping out of my chair like toast out of a toaster on steroids the entire meal!

“Can you wait?”  I knew it was really a rhetorical question as he was already in the final phase of The Potty Dance.

“Okay, let’s load up, everyone!”  I practically tossed my girls into the stroller as I frantically pulled my oldest son’s coat on, when I realised I was putting his coat on my baby girl!  It was as I tried to ready the gang for our emergency evacuation to the nearest toilet that I noticed with a sinking heart the mess we still needed to clean at the table.

Suddenly, a group of EMT workers that had been eating nearby, decked out in blue uniforms with crackling walkie-talkies clipped onto their belts, approached me.

“Can we help?  We’ll clean this up for you!”  The lady smiled warmly as she said this and looked to me just like Mother Teresa at that moment, “By the way, we were watching you guys and your kids are really sweet.  They are so well behaved.”

I furrowed my brow in confusion and looked around.  Yes, it was me she was talking to and it did (by some strange miracle!) seem she was saying “well behaved” and “my children” in the same sentence.  

I felt faint with shock and could hardly find my voice, “You don’t have to do this...and thank you.”

A few of the men that had come over with her smiled and nodded their agreement as thy got to work gathering up our wrappers, leftover food and even getting on their hands and knees to pick up the aftermath of the lettuce tornado off the floor.

Had those EMT workers regaled me for hours with stories of their amazing rescues, I would not have admired them any more than I did at that moment to see them cleaning up our trash, complimenting my kids and overwhelmingly blessing a very frazzled mother.  I felt humbled by their simple act of kindness towards a stranger.  Their rescue to our family that day made them true heroes to me.

I doubt I’ll ever be able to recount this memory of these heroic rescue EMTs without wiping away a tear.  So rare is the heart of humility and rarer still to see one serve a total stranger who could not repay them.

As we raced towards a bathroom (making it in the nick of time!), I thought about what a hero really is.  Could it be as simple as a person who goes beyond what their call of duty is?  A person who does more than their job ever requires of them, and does it willingly with a servant’s heart?  

Those rescue workers inspired me to think about my own job as a mother and how I could be a hero to my children.  There is so much my “job” requires (cooking meals, cleaning messes, giving baths, etc.) that I don’t always take the time to go beyond that call of duty and truly serve the little ones that keep me so busy “on the job”!

When my oldest goes on and on (and on...!) about his latest passion (usually involving a superhero!), do I really take time to listen or do I hurry about the kitchen, busy with my “job”?  When my three-year-old spills his milk (again!), do I just toss him a towel to clean it up or get down on my knees so we can clean it up together?  

It took a heroic “rescue” by a team of EMT workers to remind me that there is a hero inside us all; and if we are willing to go beyond our calling or duty and truly serve those around us, we can all be someone’s hero.


Andrea Peterson said...

Awesome story and reminder about the true heart of a hero. You should write a note to the administration at St. Joes. We always hear about the things done wrong, but people rarely speak up to affirm what staff do at the hospital. Thanks Tara :)

Tara Cole said...

That's actually a really good idea, Andi--thanks for thinking of it! You're right, there are many times I rave about someone "behind their back" but never encourage them to their face...not sure why but I want to be better at doing that. I will send out that letter to St. Joes this week... Thank YOU.

Tanya said...

That's awesome. I've been in a similar predicament more times than I care to remember. And it *feels* like most people are giving the stares of "Look at all those kids! She got herself into this mess, she can get herself out. Harumph." It's so nice to have an EMT rescue moment. And when someone comes up and says how well-behaved my children are....well, that makes me have to run to the bathroom because I'm so shocked and almost make a mess in my own pants. *ahem*

Anonymous said...

such a great post!

~Beth D. said...

Smiles! So rare to see others helping others without wanting a reward. Thanks for sharing! Reminds me to be kind!

Tara Cole said...

Tanya, AMEN--lol! You are hilarious! I too though feel that way when someone says that to us about our kids, I'm looking around, thinking, "WHO are they talking to?!"

Thanks, Jessica!!

Beth, yup, reminded me too...