It’s Lose-a-Toe Monday

     This morning has been all drama all the time. It’s spring break, and the boys are home from school. I take them to the grocery store, and I am not exaggerating when I say they are so insane that they don’t even notice when I buy the Easter candy right in front of their faces. The Easter Bunny hops on by and they are oblivious. At least I can check that item off my list. After we get home, the boys don their swimsuits and head for the backyard to play in the sprinkler while I put the groceries away. After that, I give them instructions to bathe themselves (they’ve learned how to give themselves a bath, which is great – moving toward independence!) and jump on the bike.
     Well, just as I’m finishing up with my workout, I hear screaming from the upstairs bathroom. I mean, wild banshee screaming. I think somebody has lost a limb for sure. Surely there is blood spurting everywhere. I think I might find a dying child up there.  I fly up the stairs at my-child-is-in-mortal-danger speed. When I get up there, I discover that both boys are in full-on panic mode. Yelling their heads off. The first thing I note is the utter lack of blood anywhere. Check one. The next thing I note is that Mason is naked on the bathroom floor, and his foot appears to be stuck under the sink cabinet.
     I somehow manage to stop everyone from screaming so that I can assess the situation by asking some questions. Corey has gone to his room and is not coming back at this point. He’s just scared out of his mind and hiding under his blankets. It’s better if he stays away, because there’s no chance Mason will calm down while his brother’s mad banshee wales continue. And at this point, I need some answers.
     Mason stops wailing, and, breathing hard but calming down, says, “I slipped in the water and my toe got stuck and I can’t get it out.” Thanks for being concise, kid. So I get down on the floor in my sweaty workout clothes and try to determine exactly how stuck his toe is while not slipping on the floor myself. The answer is not good. His toe is completely and utterly stuck. I realize that I will never be able to pull his toe out without severely damaging it. The force of the fall has completely wedged Mason’s big toe into the cabinet molding. I nail a smile on my face, and I tell Mason that everything is going to be okay. I then say a brief prayer that I have not just lied to my child and that he is not in fact going to come out of this without a toe. Then I consider my options.
     1) I can call Damian and have him come home and unstick Mason’s toe. But that will take at least 45 minutes, during which I will have a naked frightened child on the bathroom floor. That’s a no go.
     2) I can call 911 and have the EMTs or the fire department come and free his toe. This seems like a better/faster option, but this will still require Mason to wait, and the big loud fire trucks will probably scare both of my traumatized children even more.
     3) I can rip the front of the cabinet off myself. This seems like the best option, only I don’t have a crowbar.
     But Mason is starting to tune up again, so I choose option three. I decide to just Hulk it out and rip it off with my bare hands. This takes all my strength and three heaving pulls – no doubt due to the adrenaline rush brought on by my screaming banshee offspring – but I manage to pull it off and free Mason’s toe, which looks smashed and bloody. Mason looks at the ripped apart sink and says, “What if it never gets fixed?” I say, “I don’t care about the sink. I care about you.” Then I pick my shaking little boy up off of the bathroom floor, carry him to his room, set him on his bed, and get him a drink and his giant pink bunny for company while I examine/bandage his toe.
     The good news is, I think his toe is fine. He can bend it, he can walk on it, and all it really needed was some Neosporin and a bandage. But now I’m thinking this should be margarita Monday.

And the Great Agent Search is……

Over. No dice. I did not find an agent for my book. Which is okay. I knew it was a long shot. I need to remind myself that this rejection is not a reflection of my work. It’s a reflection of the book’s marketability. I heard, over and over, that while this work is important, it’s too niche of a market. Still, I’m glad that I tried this route first.

What’s next? I will try approaching small publishers directly. I think I have a better shot at that. But, if that doesn’t pan out, I will self publish. In that case, I think the people who need the book will find it, and that’s really the most important thing to me. I wrote the book that I wanted when Corey was diagnosed with tricuspid atresia. But let’s face it, Corey has a rare defect, and (thankfully) there aren’t a lot of people walking in my shoes.

However, having said all of that, I still feel that CHD awareness is important. Extremely important. There are so many people who have no idea what it means to have a child with CHD. If you say, “My child has cancer,” everyone understands you immediately. If you say, “My child has a congenital heart defect,” many people look at you like you’ve got three heads.

So I thought about ways in which I might reach a wider audience. And I think I’ve found a solution. Fiction! I’m writing a novel about a woman with a heart child. I’m about 2/3 of the way finished, and I’m hoping that, if it’s good enough, it will reach that wider audience that I am striving for.

Wish me luck….