I am sorry we have neglected you this past week. Things have been so very busy, but we have so much to report, and today you are getting the first leg of the wedding story of The Bird and The Bee.
Things were coming together beautifully Friday morning, a mere day before our impending nuptials. I had my hair, nails, and other beautification rituals performed throughout the week, and all that was left was my Friday morning pedicure with Holly at Polished Esthetics. I was due to head out the door in less than 10 minutes when I received a phone call from Cindy, the mother of the friend that Olivia had a sleepover with on Thursday night. Cindy is a really laid-back, relaxed kind of person, and never really seems to let anything bother her. I got scared when I heard her voice on the phone, definitely shaken, and telling me to meet her at the hospital because Olivia had been bitten by a dog.
I can’t describe the horror and anguish that went through me when I heard those words. I feel sick to my stomach even just thinking about that moment, and I never again want to get a call like that in my life. Chris and I ran to the van and flew up to Cindy’s place, where we met their van coming out of the lane way. I jumped into the van, terror gripping my guts, and fearful of what I was about to see. When i saw the scared, blood-stained face of my oldest baby, I thought i was going to be sick. She had been attacked by a neighbors dog out in the street of the cul-de-sac. The dog, completely unprovoked, grabbed her by the pony tail and pulled her to the ground. He then began dragging her into the ditch where he tore into her ear and bit it off. Her very brave friend, Joey, was punching and kicking the dog, in an effort to pull it off of her. What happened next is really a miracle. Joey’s mom, Cindy, just happened to have decided to go out for a walk at the exact time the attack began. When she heard screaming she ran the 30 seconds to the cul-de-sac to find the dog on Olivia, and Joey trying to get it off. She launched at the dog and dragged him off, while telling the kids to get to the house. Olivia got to her feet, and then realized part of her ear was on her own shoulder and she was covered in blood. Cindy’s husband dragged the dog back to the owners home, while Cindy packed the ear in a bag and rushed everyone into the van to get to the hospital.
I have photos of the injury, and I debated putting them up, but I have decided against it. I can tell you that the injury was so disturbing that it’s hard to look at them, knowing the sweet little girl who was the victim. I understand that there are much worse things that could happen to a child, and I know that if Cindy wasn’t there, things would have been much worse, but this happened to MY child, and it was horrific.
We spent the rest of the day at hospitals, first Cobourg, where the wound was cleaned and prepped for transport, and then to Peterborough where Olivia saw one of the best plastic surgeons around. The injury was assessed, and Dr. Hamilton arranged for her to be in surgery within the hour, where the amputated portion was re-attached. Olivia came out of surgery around 4pm, and was released from Peterborough after 6pm. We didn’t get back to the barn, where our rehearsal (which didn’t end up happening) was to be held until after 8pm. My huge ‘To-Do’ list for the day before the wedding was accomplished by our amazing friends who picked up all the slack and got everything done for us, while I waited with Olivia at the hospital for the day.
So far we are watching and waiting, hoping the surgery was a success and that the amputated portion will not reject and have to be removed. My sweet, brave little girl will now face more plastic surgery because someone with a dangerous and aggressive dog didn’t tie it up. My beautiful baby has to choke back 2 disgusting antibiotics three times a day to avoid infection in a surgically reattached ear that she had no business having. My lovely daughter had to face 200 people 24 hours after surgery with a brave face because she wanted to walk her mother down the aisle at her wedding. I can’t imagine the pain and horror that she endured because i wasn’t there. I know there’s nothing I can do about it, but I will never erase the guilt of not being with her when she needed me and was scared and hurting.
I don’t know what to do with my anger. Or my guilt. I tend to them both like unwelcome companions, resentful that they have descended upon me without my consent and despite my best intentions.
I digress. The point of this blog post, and there is one, is that after my baby was hurt, there was nothing in the world that mattered to me but her well-being. Not the wedding, or whether or not the centerpieces were going to be okay, or if it was going to pour rain. None of it mattered. NONE OF IT.
My beautiful, creative, funny, sensitive and BRAVE little girl made me see that the only thing I needed to focus on was the safety of my family, the joy of loving and being loved, and the celebration of being around everyone I care about in one place. My wedding was the most joyous, beautiful, MAGICAL event I have ever known, and I know that the past 24 hours had given me a very valuable gift: Perspective.
I spent the entire day cherishing the people I loved, and who loved me, and APPRECIATING the gift of their presence on the happiest day of my life. I married the man who was made for me in every way, my perfect mate. I have experienced the kind of joy that is life-changing, and it has made me the happiest woman I know.
Mrs. Bird 🙂