Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PromptTuesday - Trippin - Barcelona

San Diego Momma has this great Prompt Tuesday thing she does every tuesday to encourage writing and fun. I have done it once or twice, but I usually forget. But today thanks to Cheri's great post at Blog This Mom! I remembered ! So here's my Trippin post: (Basic prompt below:)

For today’s
PROMPTuesday, I ask that you write about a trip or an excursion that left you changed in some way. Did you conquer a fear on your trip? Learn something about yourself? Learn something about another person? Break up? Get together? Consider hospital time for the largest walking blister this side of Manhattan?

Back in 1995 we lived in Spain with Ex's job. The kids were nearly 3. Having moved a lot around the US with his job, we had learned to make the most of wherever we lived and see the sights. When we lived in Michigan for a year near Benton Harbor, we made sure we day tripped to Chicago and Holland and did a weekend up at Mackinaw. So a 2 year stint in Spain was a chance to travel around the country. Nearly every weekend we loaded up the Volvo Wagon and headed off somewhere.

One weekend we had the bright idea to go for a long weekend to Barcelona - 8 hours away - and we went with friends. They had 1 small child, too. And an even brighter idea: one night we'll go out and leave the twins with them and then the next night they'd go out and we'd watch the kids. We were very good friends - sounded great.

1995 - pre cell phones people...

So they say we should go first. And we do - have a great dinner, see the sights (amazing how fast you can go when you're not dragging 3 year olds around!), contemplate going "clubbing." But something is bothering me - and I'm not usually 'that kind of mom" who can't leave her kids. But something deep down is telling me to call the hotel. Ex won't hear of it. Says I'm being paranoid. But he knew I wasn't like that normally. But he still wouldn't let me call. Eventually, I convince him I'm "tired" and we go back to the hotel.

Where I find my Son's leg 3 times it's normal size and he's whimpering. Which he has been doing for hours. Because they went to a playground and he decided after 10 trips of sliding down the slide the right way, he would run down the slide. My friends panicked but couldn't catch him. When he hit bottom, his left leg went out from under him sideways.

We wait til morning to go to the hospital, figuring an emergency room overnight in a foreign country is not a good idea. We speak decent Spanish, but in Barcelona, they speak Catalan - like a cross between French and Spanish. Which we do not speak. But we're getting enough to figure out they're talking about cutting my baby boy's leg open for some reason. OH no no no. So we hop in an ambulance and go to the children's hospital, the one we didn't know existed until that moment.

And at least we get a Spanish speaking doctor who, thankfully is NOT talking about surgery. Nope. Just a month long stay in the hospital while he has his leg suspended in traction. Why?
He snapped his little femur. That big bone in the upper thigh. And the only way to fix it is traction. no no no we live 8 hours to the west. We need to go home. Ex needs to go to work. Daughter is too young to be in Hospital visiting her brother and Son is required to have 24 hour a day family care and I am just one mommy in a foreign country.

Tears. Big Fat Tears.

Ex? He is a rock. A friggin' rock. He figures it all out. Realizes his company has an office in Barcelona, sets up daycare for Daughter for the short term in Barcelona since she's not allowed in the Hospital, his Company gets us an apartment, his coworkers send books and toys from all over the states. My family sends a big-ass package of books and toys and games. People send money to cover the cost of a month in the hospital. His mother flies over to stay with me and takes turns in the Hospital. Ex takes Daughter back to our apartment where she is cared for by our Spanish friends during the day. The whole town makes cards. It was at that moment I realized that although I could handle the day to day stuff and do it well, in a crisis, he was a Rock and I wondered how I could ever live without him. Prior to the accident, we had had years of trouble (I'm pretty sure our troubles started the day after the honeymoon, but we stuck it out for 20 years anyway). We were fighting a LOT in spain. But after that? I realized what an amazing man he could be. And fell a little bit in love with him.

Somewhere deep inside of him I believe that Man still lives, under the depression, under the beaten down state of his health and job and family and unfulfilled dreams. Somewhere I am convinced there is an amazing Man who solves problems and copes with trauma like a Rock. And I miss him.

Son stayed in the hospital for a month, never once complaining. Then he went "home" in a 1/2 body cast for a month. 1 week after the cast came off, we flew home to the US for Christmas, where we rushed him to an orthopedic specialist who marveled at how the child didn't re-break his leg b/c they took the cast off too early. But he healed fine, runs fast, both legs are equal. And he never did run down a slide ever again. And Our American Friends who were traumatized by the episode? I tried to convince them it was not their fault. I know they were more vigilant than I would've been - he was just being a little 3YO boy.


ChiTown Girl said...

Wow, what a story! Can I tell you a secret? I almost hate it when I have those moments that make me remember what a great guy my ex was. (Did you read my post las t Monday?) Obviously, there was SOMETHING that made me love him, right? I don't like to think about it though, because then it pisses me off even more that he's not still that guy I fell in love with.

I'm so glad everything turned out ok with your son's leg. I shudder to think what could have gone wrong :(

g said...

Amazing story. I want to read more of your blog - how fascinating your relationship is with your Ex - sounds very healthy and realistic.

Your poor boy!! My son broke his arm when he was that age, and it was hard for him. Your little guy must have been really brave.

San Diego Momma said...

That was a great story. I like how you can still see some good in your ex. That says a lot about you.

Clippy Mat said...

that's sad.
it's a pity that things turned out the way they did when it could have went another way....
but at least when the going got tough he stepped up to the plate.
something to be thankful for.

Sugee Andersyn said...

Wow, mothers intuition is always right! What a scary thing though to happen in another country so far away from home!

Suz said...

Holy Mackeral. That is some story. What trauma....drama....just crazy.
So glad it all worked out for your Son.
Ex must still have some of that in him...like you said, something is keeping it hidden.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I was struck by something you wrote at the very beginning, "we lived in Spain with Ex's job" and "we moved around the US with his job." Three of you. Ex, you, job. Interesting, huh? I feel like that too sometimes with me and Tom, and that's probably not a good thing.

Anyway, another thing that struck me about your story, which stands out in other pieces that you write, you share the good parts about your Ex. You see his humanity, the good in him, and you share it. This is a wonderful and remarkable gift you give to your children. And, I can tell you as a former family-law attorney, it is a rare gift.

Excellent PROMPTuesday, GND.

swampwitch said...

I just popped over from HulaMom's when I read your comment about living next to your EX.
I'll be back to read your post, but have to go trim my toenails...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Whoa. That is quite a story. It is nice that you can see the good in your ex--I'm sure your kids appreciate it too.