The Wardrobe

Something scary happened tonight. I asked the girls to go upstairs and put away all the laundry I folded today. There was a lot of it. Katie needed hangers and I had a bunch hanging in the wardrobe in our room. The wardrobe is old and is made up of three pieces stacked together.
Katie didn’t realize this, and when she couldn’t reach the hangers, she climbed up inside the wardrobe to reach. She lost her balance and fell, holding on to the middle frame, pulling the top two parts of the wardrobe down on top of her.

I was downstairs at the time, trying to convince Millie to help pick up the living room. We heard a crash and then we heard a scream. And then we kept hearing a scream. It sounded like a scary movie scream that kept going and going and going.

I’m not one to normally overreact when my kids get hurt. I’ve always thought if you stay calm, it helps them stay calm, and usually it’s not that big of a deal. The scream flipped a switch inside me tonight, though, and I ran up the stairs as fast as I could. Craig was already in the room and had already lifted the wardrobe off of Katie.

She’s fine, by the way. Perfectly fine. And the scream wasn’t coming from her; it was coming from Maddie. Maddie was in the room with her, had asked her to get the hangers, saw her climb up into the wardrobe,vwatched her fall, and witnessed the wardrobe coming down on top of her,
powerless to do anything about it other than scream.

She was scared. She thought Katie had been seriously hurt, maybe even the unthinkable. She blamed herself because she had asked for the hangers.

Gravity sunk in when Craig informed me that Millie had been sitting directly in the path of the wardrobe only minutes before. Whereas Katie was inside it when it came down and thus didn’t bear the weight of it when it fell, Millie would have been crushed had she still been where she
was.

It’s easy to play the “what if” game with scenarios like this. What if I had put the laundry away myself after folding it? What if Maddie had retrieved her own hangers? What if Katie had stuck with folding rags instead of anything else? What if Millie had stayed in that spot?

Fact is, “what if” doesn’t do anybody any good. It wasn’t anyone’s fault and the unthinkable didn’t happen. And if it did, it still wouldn’t have been anybody’s fault. But it’s scary to think about and sometimes the weight of it doesn’t hit you for several hours.

The weight of it hit Katie right away (both literally and figuratively). After she calmed down (she wasn’t screaming, but she was definitely crying), she found me and said, “I could have died tonight if the wardrobe hit me somewhere else, couldn’t I have?” I stared at her for a second and then slowly began to nod. She then said, “But I didn’t because God protected me and saved me, so I’m okay and don’t even have a scratch or a broken bone.” I stared again and again nodded.

The simplicity of that understanding was all she needed. She was fine, she wasn’t really hurt, and she believed with all her heart that God saved her life tonight. She will remember this for a long time, maybe even forever.

And for me? I hope I remember it forever, too. I’m more apt to want to get rid of the wardrobe or punish myself for not being present in the room when it happened. Facts remain: it wasn’t anyone’s fault and the Lord did spare her life. That needs to be enough. For now. For forever.

Thanks, God, for protecting my family tonight.

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