How I missed my wedding rehearsal dinner and a lesson on perspective…

Hello Kittens,

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  🙂

My beautiful, beautiful girls. xo



22 thoughts on “How I missed my wedding rehearsal dinner and a lesson on perspective…

  1. OMG!! Gerri, I am so sorry that your family had to go through this… I had no idea! Take care of that little girl 🙂 The pic with your girls is beautiful, so much love and happiness!

  2. You are an amazing person and Mother to those 2 beautiful girls. I am angry and horrified as well, but will not get into that. This is not what that is about. This is about you being there for your daughter the second you knew that she needed you. You did this without another thought. I was one of the very fortunate people to be invited to your wedding and Olivia was such a trouper! She was smiling ear to ear and full of happiness and love for you and Chris. I don’t know if I could have been as tough as this little girl was throughout the whole ordeal. This shows me that you as a Mother have brought your kids up in the best way possible. Not many little girls would have held up very well infront of all those people after that. She is one tough cookie and made a lot of people very proud of her and her Mom. Yes, Chris once again your lovely lady made me cry too 🙂

  3. Oh Gerri. I cry as I write this in heartfelt sympathy and a feeling of futility in being unable to help. As always you perspective on the truly important things in life resonates with me and I am grateful for my blessings. Your all in our prayers. Love you.

  4. Oh my! Gerri, I had no idea this had happened. I’m so sorry you both had to go through this. Is there any legal action you are going to be taking against the asshole with the dog?… I sincerely hope so. At the very least, it should be put down. Hugs to you and your oldest one for being so brave.

  5. Wow. Just wow. If the dog isn’t dead yet, kill it with your bare hands. That should take care of the anger. Failing that, option “B” would be to speak to a lawyer. I’m serious here, go speak to a lawyer.
    You should feel no guilt Mrs. B. You did nothing wrong. In fact, you have done everything right! That shines through crystal clear when you tell us how brave you daughter was. You have given her the emotional tools to deal with the situation. And finally, you came to her rescue. She will never ever forget that. You, mother dear, have made it all OK. No guilt at all. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Nope, no guilt. And as a father, I know it is much easier to say than it is to toss the guilt aside. Be proud of yourself and your daughter for getting though this horror together. It’ll be alright as long as you have each other.
    Perspective is an awesome thing isn’t it? As long as there is love in your family, nothing else really matters. Be brave Momma. When you can’t be brave, there’s a wine for that. God Bless.

    • Well Scotty, you made her cry. Thank you for the kind words and as always for reading. We need to get out for a sandwich or some tacos next week.

      • Give me a shout when you’ve got time and we’ll terrorize some local establisment with our patronage. Give your lovely bride a hug for me too. Take care!

    • Scotty, you have taken the words right out of my mouth. I could not have said it any better.
      Sending my love and hugs to all of you. xo

  6. Gerri I am so sorry to hear this has happened and my thoughts are with you and the recovery of Your Daughter. You should not feel guilt as we cannot always be there for our children 24/7 but what an amazing mom you are….you were there in a short time and Your daughter no matter what she was feel was happy for her mom and wanted to be there for you as you were there for her…….Katrina

  7. Wow Gerri. My heart goes out to you and your little girl. You both are very strong! I so agree with everything that Scotty P said. You are the girls solid foundation and you are abviously doing a great job. Take care of her, and see a lawyer and fight.

  8. We had no idea any of this had happened until Birdman told us about it Sunday morning. I’m so sorry that O (and you guys) had to go through all that, but I agree wholeheartedly with Scotty. The measure of being a good mother is not that you are there for every single second of their lives (no-one can be, after all), but that you equip them with the tools they need to cope with life, whether you are there or not. Clearly, this is the case. I saw two very beautiful, happy little girls on Saturday – I’d never have guessed in a million years that O had been through such a horrible trauma only the day before. I think THAT is a tribute to good parenting.

    As sad as it makes me to say, the dog should be euthanized. I only wish the penalties for the people that create monsters out of pets were as harsh as the ones handed out to the animals. I sure hope that guy is never permitted to own another pet again.

    And even with all of that, you still managed to throw the most spectacular wedding in Canada’s (possibly the world’s) history. Kudos. 🙂

  9. As a witness to how fast the two of them tore out of the house to be with Olivia, I know the horror they faced. Gerri, you are one of the best moms I have ever seen! After spending time with both of the girls, I can see the love and respect you have taught them. Olivia gets all her strength from you Mama. No doubt about that. And the love they have for you is in their eyes every time they look at you. Believe it or not, you are their hero. The family will get through this as strong or stronger then before. Remember, you have each other to lean on.

  10. and to think you texted me an apology for a delayed response to previous messages. I love you all,it was a beautiful,UNIQUE,and inspirational union for sure. I hope that irresponsible c*&^%$#@!r gets a copy of the photos along with an impact statement from Miss O. JERK. I am an animal lover don’t get me wrong, but clearly the animal needs to be destroyed. Persepective is something I often lose sight of myself, thanks for the reminder,not only of that but of happily ever after. Mr and Mrs. Bird and your chicklets are deeply loved.

  11. I have tears running down my face as i write this to you….I cant even imagine what you went thru and are stil going thru….she is one tuff little cokkie, thats for sure…but look who her mama is!!!!! You all were glowing that day and despite what had happened she was one brave little girl….
    I really hope that you have taken somekind of legal actions on the owner of that dog….we sometimes forget that they are animals and can turn on us….very sad but true….
    My thoughts and prayers are with you all….

  12. I just wanted to say, as one of the lucky people who were able to witness your special day, that you daughter(s) looked beautiful. Everyone that I have shown pictures to comments on how gorgeous they were. Your oldest baby showed more courage than most adults on Saturday and her huge smile overshadowed everything else. In fact she looked so good that a few of us didn’t even notice her ear until the next day at ball. Wish your new family all the best.

  13. I bet Blue would have messed that dog’s day up, had he been there.

    I can’t believe that happened, and I’m so sorry, not only for the timing of it, but the fact that it happened at all. I hope that everything heals perfectly.

    This post shows how wonderful of a mother you truly are. And you look so beautiful!

  14. Mrs. Bird, I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to your daughter. I hope she is healing nicely and everything is fine. Past that, I’m glad the wedding went well.

  15. What a story, sorry to hear about your daughter being attacked, I hope that everything heals quickly. But also want to tell you that though you feel guilty for not being there at the time of the attack, she was obivously protected from a higher source as that brave little friend had the courage to try to stop the dog, maybe also as your friend just “happened” to step outside. I believe eveything happens for a reason. You are an AWESOME mom, friend, person all together, That is why we love you Gerri

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  17. I don’t know how I missed this post, but I did. I also can’t imagine the horror of what that must have been like, for your daughter, you or Mr. Birdman. There’s not really much I can add to these comments that hasn’t already been said. As a mom, you want to be there for your kids, 24/7, to protect them and make sure nothing bad ever happens to them. You quickly learn that’s just not possible and so we give them tools and knowledge for instances like this, in case we’re not there. You’ve obviously given her so much when you are with her that she was able to handle this situation amazingly. During, immediately after and following. I’d say you were definitely there for her. <3

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