This week marks a 6 month anniversary. I want to give a shout out to my right thigh. You are the baddest bitch I know. You’ve withstood everything from 3rd degree burns to shingles. Thank you for being a survivor. Victory through hell, I will so mote it be.
As a kid, I remember my dad chanting the following words: “Victory through hell, I will so mote it be.” I’d always think, “What the heck does that mean?”, but he was old and alone, so I let him be. A few months ago, it randomly popped into my head, so I decided to look it up. Come to find out, it’s a masonic phrase that pretty much means you can make out of the bowels of YOUR hell, whatever it is, as long as you will it to be.
I used to think that man was crazy. But now, as an adult, who has spent time in her own version of hell, I get it. It’s all about the power of positive thinking.
I was reminded of the saying, 6 months ago, when my leg took a trip to hell and returned hot and sizzling. No…seriously…it must have been lit down there because it continued to sting for many weeks following the accident. But as the saying goes, “Victory through hell, I will so mote it be.”
Today, I able to talk about it with little to no PTSD:
Over the past 10 years, across 3 children, we’ve only had one party outside of the house. When Marley turned two, we decided to throw her a party at Gymboree. I’d just given birth to Maya and dreaded the thought of having to cook and then clean up after 30+ people. The house was full of stuff (play pen, pack-n-play, bouncy seat, changing table etc.). It was already overcrowded, so to add a lot of people to the mix was not something that I wanted to do. With Gymboree, all we had to do was show up, which was perfect.
As they got older and started making friends, we realized that throwing these types of parties was something we just couldn’t afford. It could easily cost upwards of $1,000 depending on how many kids you invite. I hate having to break it to them, every year, but it just doesn’t fit into our budget. So far, there’ve been no major complaints. The kids are perfectly fine with cutting a cake and spending the day with family.
I enjoy feeding people, so, last December, when Mac was turning 3, I invited everyone over for good food (including rice, pasta and crack wings. If you haven’t tried them, you should) and cake. I started the day off early, taking the girls to gymnastics. Maya and I ran a few errands including getting Mac’s birthday cake. I came back home and thought to myself “wow you’re making good time, so there’s no need to rush.”
When I’m planning a party, I like to map things out. Boiling the beans for the rice was step one, since they take the longest.
I have this pot. It’s my dad’s pot. It has sentimental value because he cooked everything in this pot. A forensic team might still find his finger prints on this pot. For the sake of this story, let’s call it “Gabe’s pot”. I should have retired Gabe’s pot years ago, but it always felt good standing at the stove, cooking my rice and beans in the same pot that my dad cooked his rice and beans.
Gabe’s pot, went through a lot of wear and tear. Over the years, one handle fell off, then the other. My husband would constantly tell me to throw it out. I’d look at him as if he had two heads, and continued to use it. One day, he’d attempted to drain water after I’d boiled spaghetti. He huffed and puffed until I’d said “give it here. I got this. You just don’t know how to use Gabe’s pot. It’s in my genes.” He’d curse under his breath that it was ridiculous to keep such a broken down pot, but like the good husband he is, he left it alone.
We were expecting everyone to come over at 4PM that day, so with everything on the stove by 2:30, I was feeling good. I was making great time. I put on my oven mitts to grab a hold of Gabe’s pot (remember it has no handles) on the sides. From point A to point B, something went wrong. I don’t remember exactly how it happened but it ended up with me on the floor having 3rd degree burns on my entire thigh and stomach. Gabe’s pot, without the handles, must have slipped out of my hands, bounced on the counter, splashing a boat load of water onto my legs, stomach and the floor. In my panic, I fell, landing face first. Talk about a comedy of errors. I immediately flip over because the burn was excruciating. There were a lot tears, screams through gritted teeth and f-bombs, which my daughter is still trying to collect dollars for. It was bad and the worst part was that the girls witnessed it all.
From the living room, Frank and the girls heard a few bangs and crashes and immediately rushed in to find me writhing in pain on the floor. My quick thinking husband threw a hand towel on my thigh and began pouring cups of cold water. Aside from everything else, I was now sitting, pants down, on my kitchen floor, in a puddle of cold water. My poor babies stood in the other room, looking on in horror, wondering if I was going to be ok.
In a matter of minutes, I’d put myself through a range of feelings. Pain because my leg was on fire, embarrassment because I had no business using Gabe’s pot and guilt because I was putting my girls through the anguish of seeing mommy suffer as she lay there vulnerable. Frank took charge of the situation and started barking out commands “Maya, go through mommy’s drawers and grab her some underwear and sweatpants” (because the water splashed my waistline, I had to have my underwear cut off). “Marley, get on your coat, and put Mac’s on as well.” “Mom, I’m calling because we have to cancel the party. Gabrielle burned herself with boiling water and it’s really bad.” “Girls, get it together, we have to take mommy to the ER.” I would have been S.O.L. if Frank wasn’t home.
At one point, Maya stood in front of me, holding 2 pair of sweatpants and a pair of underwear. “Maya, thank you but those pants are clingy and I can’t even imagine pulling anything over my leg at right now. Mom’s going to need a dress.” Maya: “Wait…does that mean you’re going commando?” Me: “I guess it does.” Maya: “But mom, if you have a boy doctor, he might see all your stuff.” Me: “We’ll cross that bridge when we get here.”
Since my accident, I’ve been thanking God for small favors:
That my very innocent child was able to focus on what was really important and take my mind off of my pain, even for a moment.
That I was wearing jeans. If I’d been wearing yoga pants or shorts, I’m sure my injury would have been 100Xs worse.
That I have a husband, who thinks fast under pressure.
That the water only splashed on my stomach and leg and not my torso or face.
And most importantly, that I was in the kitchen alone, when this occurred. Usually, I have 3 little people wanting to “help” me cook.
I’m fully healed and the pot is no longer in use. Maybe I’ll use it as a planter’s pot and grow some aloe. I’m sure Gabe would have popped me upside the head and demanded that I throw his pot away, but soon after, in an effort to expedite the healing process, he would have chanted ‘Victory through hell, I will so mote it be”.