8-15-09 Lauren, Riley, Neil and Emma having fun- Uncle Pete watching over them.
I have witnessed countless miracles on a daily basis in my life, but none could compare to the magnitude of the most recent heavenly rescue and assistance that I am so sure took place this past weekend. Though I did not see the actual event with my own eyes, my heart and soul can speak of the moment with an abundance of faith that God's most finest work took place in the safe deliverance of my boy from a most possibly tragic accident.
There was nothing unusual about the moments that led up to the horrific portrayal of my worst fear. The picture that you see above is just a snapshot of pure happiness in four sweet cousins- the oldest kiddos of the younger side of the friendly bunch of us all. Lauren, the oldest at 7 years did the darling eye batting and sweet talking to her Uncle Pete in order to fulfill the "Must go with an adult" qualifications to be able to climb to the top of the platform which rose some 20 feet into the air. Up top they cheered and giggled, and even thought they were quite funny throwing acorns at me below as I tried to capture the height-filled adventure on my camera- thank goodness I got the picture I needed in one take! Surprised at the acorn launching precision of 5 year olds I decided to get out of range and make my way back to the bonfire about 100 yards away. I assumed Uncle Pete would give them a few more minutes and then they would be back to the fire pit ready for a second serving of yummy gooey smores.
Certain sounds, followed by certain vibrations in the earth's surface are not meant to go together kindly- and in the 2 seconds it took my nervous system to interpret what I was sensing, my heels were turning and I was in a frenzied run back in the direction of the platform. All this before I clearly could comprehend what had just happened. I heard nothing except the voice in my head sorting out the situation even before I truly knew what I would find. I was desperately resisting what I instinctively knew as a Mother would be the fear filled scene I would discover. I knew it was him before my eyes could confirm it. I knew that the sickening sound of gravitational forces pulling a falling human toward rain soaked soil, and the abrupt cessation of joyful chatter equaled only one thing- My Riley- Oh my God- My Riley fell off that platform!
My heart went wild, hitting the inside of my chest walls like a scared and irrational mad person in a room of mirrors. NO, NO, NO- Dear God not Riley- Please Lord he has to be OK! Dear God please help, he has to be OK. There he lay, quiet, not moving, almost like he was just taking a nap with his knees pulled up into his chest. I was upon him now, somehow calmly speaking to him while inside myself I was having the biggest meltdown of my life. "Riley can you hear me?" "Where does it hurt sweetheart?" "Riley its going to be OK, mama is here, you are going to be OK baby" "CLAUDIA!!!!" (I was screaming for Our friend who is a nurse, so to show my mind was in serious damage control action) "Riley Baby, daddy is right here too, can you hear us?" His eyes all of a sudden opened up real wide and a huge gasp of air was swallowed up as he recovered from having the wind knocked out of himself from the impact. At that moment a reassurance sprang up inside of me, a hope, a special optimistic knowing that he was going to be OK. I wanted to pick him up right then and there, but Claudia was there now and Tod too, and they wanted to make sure we weren't dealing with anything in which moving him at that moment would cause more harm than good. He said "My whole body hurts Mama" and as the reality of the situation settled in on him, he started to tear up, but even then I knew he was the bravest little boy in the whole world. He followed our instructions and answered our questions, he did exactly what we asked.
After the assessment was made that he was safe to move- not even three minutes after the fall he was in the safety of my arms. There was some blood on his knee, but other than that we couldn't find any physical evidence of harm on his entire body. We switched up and Tod, Daddy took Riley into his arms and carried him the rest of the way into the house. We did some further investigations of both Riley's status: He was walking and though still shaken up a bit seemingly and miraculously fine- Praise God! We then assessed the actual events that preceeded the fall: This is where the real miracle takes form by the way.....
Every night at the dinner table the four of us each take a turn to say a prayer of thanksgiving and thoughtfulness- we each always pray for health and safety for our family. This is where I am a firm believer and have Faith that God hears our prayerful petitions and goes into action when unfortunate accidents manifest themselves. As Tod put it, "Riley threaded the needle!" That child not only fell 20 feet from a platform- a rotted out piece of railing had gave way in which Riley had been leaning on- (Lauren actually grabbed him in an effort to save him from falling but was unable to hold on, I am just thankful she didn't go over with him!) but he also missed a solid metal tree stand that was attached to a post below, a steel barrel garbage can and a juniper bush, so to land in a place on the ground that from the looks of it was still moist from rain storms the night before. His body was actually underneath the metal tree stand! He said he never hit his head, only his side of his body- We never found not one bruise on him- Seriously!!! When I think of all the potential possibilities that could have happened, well I just can't go there, except to say our analysis of his fall seems almost impossible. By impossible I mean, the evidence just doesn't add up to our boy walking away from that incident almost completely free from all harm. The one of two scrapes on his Knee were actually from the platform as he fell! The only explanation to us is that there must have been a heavenly intervention. Riley had just asked us about the other day about angels and why we could not see them, this question leading to a lesson in faith we explained to him so that he could understand. So now those unseen heavenly crusaders, Swiftly had swooped in and quite surely softened his fall. There are no other logical answers.
So I share this story with you all to hopefully demonstrate what we all know about life. The part about life where we must realize that everything can change in an instant. The part that reminds us we are not invincible, though children are fortunate to have a little more pliability than an adult when it comes to there growing forms. The part about life that teaches us to appreciate moments like these dramatic chance happenings as an opportunity to count our blessings and be thankful for God's mercy and love. My sweet baby boy is going to be alright from all that we can tell. Once again I am going to fine tune my own perceptions about what is really important to me and my own life's purpose, most especially as a mother. God must have some special plans for Riley and his place in our world. I am just grateful to be able to continue being his Mama and to see that beautiful, now toothless smile, and hear him tell me "I love you Mama" every single day. My prayers have dutifully been answered, my expectations, my faith lifted to a newer level, and I can continue to do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and my family, and you too!
With all the love, thankfulness and joy a heart can reveal- Most Sincerely,
Stephie "Mama" Sheffer
My Birthday- three days after the accident