For the first two months of my single parenting adventure everything was going smoothly. Well, everything was going smoothly if you didn't count the fact that I was getting divorced, I was now trying to raise three children by myself and couldn't find any way to make any money. But, if you could manage to look past those things, my life was pretty good.
The kids no longer heard mom and dad fighting all the time. Life was very different but, it was beginning to stabilize for all of us.
After about a month of running myself ragged, getting the two older ones to Boy Scouts, football, dance, Girl Scouts, school programs, church activities, work and household chores, I had to sit the kids down. I explained to them that I could not do it all alone and they would have to choose one extra curricular activity each.
They were disappointed but, it made things much more manageable. It was a schedule I could commit to and not let them down.
Then the Candy Incident happened.
My youngest, Gabriel, has always been incredibly active. When Gabe was eighteen months old my nephew was at my house and made an observation bout him. One of his siblings called him and Gabe ran down the hall toward the bedrooms. My nephew said, "Gabe's like Forrest Gump."
I said, "What do you mean?"
"Everywhere he goes, he's running!"
At this point in his life Gabe's two favorite activities were rearranging the living room furniture and emptying all the pots, pans and storage containers from the lower cabinets in the kitchen.
One Saturday morning I spent three hours "child proofing" the cabinets. He watched the entire time and informed me, "that's not nice, Dad. You just don't want me to get those." He watched us diligently for a week and figured out how to open the "child proof" latches. Three hours of work for one week of peace.
On a different Saturday morning in March of 2003, I was doing some house work and the two older kids were getting ready for rehearsal for the church Easter play. I stepped out into the garage to transfer a load of laundry from the washing machine to the dryer and put another load in the washer.
As I was moving wet laundry from the washer to the dryer I heard the dead bolt on the kitchen door moving. I figured Gabe was playing with it. As I was loading more clothes into the washing machine I heard a loud crash in the kitchen, immediately followed by a scream. I ran to the door to find it locked. Now I could hear two kids crying very loudly. If I didn't know better I would have thought they were competing to see who could cry the loudest.
I panicked. I began beating on the kitchen door. Then I stopped, pushed the button on the garage door opener and walked around to the front of the house. I knocked on the door and my oldest let me in.
I was met with an interesting scene. Gabe was sitting on the floor bleeding from the top of the head. He had one hand covered in blood. there was an overturned chair on the floor beside him. Candy and broken ceramic pieces were strewn about the area. Mackenzie was standing beside him crying. Stephan, who had blood on one of his hands, was leaning over Gabe trying to comfort him. Stephan asked, "Gabby, what happened?"
It was obvious to me. My two year old had the forethought to lock me out of the house so as to not be stopped from attaining his goal. Then he dragged a chair from the kitchen table to the refrigerator where he tried to climb the appliance to get to the M&M figure on top of the fridge.He knew this figure was filled with candy. Before he could secure his booty it fell on his head and shattered. He was knocked off of the chair to sit with his dashed desires, mixed with candy, and blood, and pain.
Gabe's assessment of the situation was much better. Through his tears, he yelled offendedly,
"CANDY HIT ME!"
Now, I not only had my two youngest children crying while one was bleeding from the head but, Stephan and I were practically doubled over with laughter! I am very glad no one came to the door just then.
As crazy as it may seem, all of us there in the entry way, laughing, crying and bleeding, we started feeling like a family again. Gabe's self-inflicted injury kick started the healing process for us. There were still innumerable issues we would have to confront together but, we had started. And this was a very good thing. At least, that's my view from here.
This is the first entry of my blog on Single Parenting, "The View From Here". You can access it here: http://deankrosecz.blogspot.com
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