parents

"I'm Sarah. And today I was a superhero"

by SARAH BROWN

I do not send food back in a restaurant.

I do not make a fuss when someone pushes in front of me at the deli.

If one of the old fellas at the markets overcharges me for some veggies, I say nothing, thinking it must be quite a task for him to add up all those numbers.

I do not create fuss, I am not a rule breaker.

I really am a pushover.

Or a pussycat.

Except when I am a lioness.

A couple of weeks ago my youngest , Max, was not well. He was coughing up a storm and was diagnosed with Bronchiolitis. Monitor at home, keep fluids up, that kind of thing. He had a coughing and vomiting session that lasted a good five minutes, and after he was done, we entered into Parents’ Worst Nightmare territory.

My beautiful 10 month old baby boy turned blue.

(Even while writing this I have tears.)

We live 15km from hospital and our little property can be difficult to find in the dark so we didn’t bother with an ambulance. Thankfully, my sister in law was having dinner with us, so Nick (my husband) and I were able to get straight in the car and drive into town.

Quickly.

I need to say here that Max was definitely breathing, but the colour he was at that time will stay with me forever.

Here’s where adrenalin ensured the lioness took over.

Whilst making that dash into town, I was not aware of anything else but the road. I drove like a member of a precision driving team. My driving skills (although fairly awesome to begin with) reached new heights. The hospital was my target and anything in the way would have to be dealt with, as swiftly as possible.

About two blocks from the hospital, some ‘youths’ were being turds in the car in front. I’m sorry, but ‘turds’ is the only way I can describe them. Not letting me pass, going slowly deliberately, that kind of thing. I leaned on my horn for about 5 seconds and they stopped in the middle of the road, I’m certain they were getting ready for a fight. I pulled up right next to them, and we both rolled our windows down at the same time. The kid in the passenger seat had on one of those flat giant baseball caps, which always make me wonder why people would want to make themselves look like Dickie Knee.

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At that point, I’m sure I’ve morphed into some kind of monster. I lean right out the window, and yell at them, in their faces, “WE’RE TRYING TO GET TO THE HOSPITAL SO DON’T BE DICKHEADS!!” They look stunned, I slam on the accelerator so quickly that my wheels squeal and drive the rest of the way to the hospital.

The other people in the Emergency waiting room must have had quite a show, as a borderline hysterical woman came running through with a baby in her arms, shouting something about him turning blue, and to let her in now!

They did, and they took amazing care of him. Max stayed 2 ½ days in hospital and was looked after by the most amazing nurses, and a pediatrician who I want to make fan merchandise for.

It’s taken a good couple of weeks, but my little guy is pretty much back to his beautiful, happy, healthy self. I am truly thankful. Whilst in hospital we saw little ones who will be there a lot longer, and am amazed at their parents’ strength in such situations.

After that dash, once things had settled down, I kept asking Nick who was that woman who screamed at youths? Where did she come from?

He said he wasn’t sure but he sure did like her.

It got me thinking though, do we all have a red and yellow ‘S’ painted on our chest, hiding under our insecurities just waiting to be used when we most need it?

I’m sure some would argue it’s a parental thing. Maybe they’re right, I don’t recall the existence of that other woman before I had my little ones. However, I know plenty of people without children who would change in a phonebooth in seconds to help someone they care about, so I do doubt that theory a little. Plus, I’m not a fan of widening the great divide between those with children and without.

I’m also wondering how I can call out a bit of that fierce lady from that night in my everyday. It’s not that I want to make a habit of wandering up the main street and screaming in the faces of our youth, but I wouldn’t mind being a little more assertive.

Maybe I’ll start with the deli queue.

P.S. I know at this point, some people are expecting me to apologise to the youths I yelled at. I will not. They were turds. They deserved it.

Sarah Brown is the mum of four beautiful children, two dogs and a number of chooks. She runs a photography business specialising in maternity, family and newborn portraits in Griffith, NSW.

Have you ever been in a situation where your own strength surprised you? Do we all have a red and yellow S painted on our chest? Do we see the best of people during the worst of times?