Submitted by Laurie Steele
My boys were born when "working mothers" were sort of a new trend. Back then I felt grateful to get six weeks of maternity leave, and there was no concept of paternity leave. My mother-in-law brought me home from the hospital after our first son was born because my husband needed to go back to work the next day. There were no cell phones or Internet communications back then. And ... the thing I am most bitter about: there were no drink holders in strollers.
My husband worked in the field. Literally. He was on an outdoor construction crew and worked from sun-up to sun-down for nine months of the year. So when it was time for me to go back to work, he was leaving home at 6:00 am each morning. That meant that before I went to work, I was on my own in terms of getting the boys ready for and delivered to daycare every morning. After my full day of work, I also had to pick them up. My husband got home between 5:00 and 8:00 pm every night, but there was no way of knowing exactly when he would pull into the driveway on any given evening.
Fast forward to the day when our youngest was a toddler. He came down with a violent 24-hour barfing bug, and I had a serious deadline. I begged my husband to call in sick because I really needed to be at work that day. He acquiesced, and I left him with a barfing, pooping toddler, and a honey-do list that included installing a kid-lock on the knife drawer.
A few hours later, as I was furiously trying to meet a deadline, I got an urgent call (via a landline, of course), hearkening me to pick them both up and take them to the emergency room. It turns out, my hubby had taken the full knife drawer out of the cabinet and set it on the floor. Then, while installing the kid-lock, our sick little baby toddled over, grabbed a huge knife by the handle, and started to back away. My husband instinctively reached out and grabbed the blade, just as the baby pulled back. His palm was sliced, there was blood everywhere, and he called the wife at work.
"Are you sure you need stitches? Right now?" I asked. "I am on a deadline!"
He was sure, so I hurried over, picked them both up, tapped the brakes at the hospital, and my husband tucked and rolled into the ER.
I kept the baby for the next couple of hours (until I got the landline call to come pick him up), only to find my poor husband waiting alone on a bus bench with his wrapped hand elevated patiently waiting to be picked up.
The best part of the story: I met my deadline, the baby got better, and my husband's stitches healed. Meanwhile, I came down with the worst -- and most deserved -- 24-hour stomach flu. Karma. She is for reals.