Necessary Hard Things
These were my babies back in the long ago past of 1971. We didn't wear seat belts or have car seats for our little ones. We didn't lock our doors or hover over our children as they played safely outside. We'd never heard of home schooling and didn't need it anyway because where we lived the school was one of the safest places for our children to spend their days.
Hair styles for women were transitioning from the back-combed big hair to long and straight, and more often than not, parted down the middle as we proudly wore our bell bottom pant suits. The men were experimenting with longer messier hair, turning from the short parted on the side cut that their fathers had.
It was the Beatles popularity and their impact on fashion, all the way from England that changed American styles. With no social media, unless we heard it on the news or read it in a newspaper, we were blissfully unaware of things that might have happened anywhere outside of our small town. But in our tech world of today we hear everything, within minutes and sometimes only seconds of the incident. And when we hear about something that could have happened to one of our children, it strikes fear in our hearts.
A news report recently took me back to that time. A six-year old boy recently died from Rabies. He picked up a bat and it scratched him. I'm not sure about the details, but I do remember seeing the distraught father in tears being interviewed on the nightly news, accompanied by a video of his little boy in the hospital, connected to all kinds of machines, trying to keep him alive. He lost the battle. That report broke my heart and instantly took me back to the time that I had to make a hard decision so that didn't happen to my little boy.
We are all dressed up in our best in this picture, and I don't remember why. However, I notice that I am fashionably dressed in a bell bottom pant suit and my boys are dressed alike right down to their shoes! Unlike the hairbows baby girls wear today, Kerri has one in her hair that isn't as big has her head. (don't take offense, it's just a joke, the big bows are adorable, though I promise someday you will look at your photos and wonder what you were thinking) We are sitting on the front steps of the house next door, and I can only presume that our neighbor, Jean, took this photo. Darin was six, Devin, three and Kerri less than a year old.
Since we didn't document every second of every day back in those days as we do today, I am not sure exactly when this event occurred that made me remember my fear of rabies. That precious three year old was trying to pick up a kitten and the momma didn't like that, so she bit him on the face.
The cat was a stray and we had to assume it had not had any shots. Our pediatrician advised there was no other way to protect Devin except to start administering the rabies vaccine. If the cat remained healthy after a certain number of days it would be safe to discontinue the vaccine.
The protocol was a shot every day in the stomach. It is horribly painful. The memory of having to choose to take my sweet boy every day and listen to him cry and scream no as the nurses held him down was excruciating and still feels that way today. But the results could be fatal without them. About the third day as I put him in the car, tears ran down his face as he begged me, "mommy, no, mommy no."
I don't remember if it was seven or ten days that he and I got in the car and drove to Jonesboro for those horrible, dreaded, painful shots but I know we both cried every day after. We both cried! For weeks after it was finished he couldn't wear pants around his waist. His belly was bruised and knotted and horrible. Thankfully they haven't administered shots in the stomach since the 1980's.
Was that a hard thing to do as a mom? The hardest! But it was so very necessary. My heart broke for the parents of that child who died. Had they known, he could have been saved. They would have been happy to do the hard thing!