Today was supposed to be the day we finally got the results of Gracie’s scope, but I had to reschedule the appointment. Chad woke up blind in one eye.

He called me at work, panicking, freaking out because he couldn’t see anything but light and dark in his right eye. I’m sure it was a scary feeling. Eventually, after talking him down from the ledge, he agreed to call his eye doctor and get in ASAP. His appointment was at 12:15; I left work at 11:45 so I could drive him and keep him company.

Good god, what a day. We were at the first eye doctor’s office for an eternity. Chad’s vision loss was heartbreakingly evident, caused by a cataract that went from not that bad to truly disabling overnight. As the hours ticked by, I started to wonder if we would finish before the kids were done with school. Finally, at about 2:30 we left, but not for home. We had to rush to a retinal specialist—Chad’s cataract is so bad that the eye doctor couldn’t see through it to make sure the retina was okay (apparently retinal tears can cause similar fast-onset blindness). The only catch was the retinal specialist needed Chad’s medical insurance card, which I don’t carry and he couldn’t find (I really should just keep his card, too; I have everyone else’s).

Rush, rush, rush. We left the eye doctor, grabbed some fast food, rushed home to look for the insurance card, then rushed out the door to the specialist appointment. I called the insurance company on the way and wrote down Chad’s insurance ID number while driving. I took Chad up to his appointment and explained to the receptionist about the missing card, then rushed out the door to pick up Jackson from school. Meanwhile, Chad called and told me I messed up the insurance number—I didn’t get the prefix. No “thanks for trying” or “I’m the idiot who lost his card,” just “you messed up and now they won’t see me.” I told him I needed to get our son and hung up. Jerk.

I was late to Jackson’s school; he was sobbing by the time I got there. He is a very emotional kid and I try so hard to be there on time every day so he doesn’t freak out, but sometimes things happen and I don’t make it. He freaks out every time. Probably relates to that first long hospital stay of Gracie’s

Rushing again, I took Jackson home, calling the insurance company again on the way to get the three missing digits. Insurance company phone calls are a breed unto themselves, and this call was as frustrating as any. Chad’s brother had picked up Gracie at school, thankfully, and was at our house when I got there. I dropped Jackson off and rushed back to the retinal specialist so I could fill out Chad’s paperwork.

Chad’s retina is fine. He is clear to have cataract surgery as soon as we can schedule it. I got to ask the retinal specialist some questions about Gracie’s retinitis pigmentosa, too, so that was nice. We left that office at 5 pm, totally fried.

Unfortunately, the day didn’t end after that. The kids were worried about their daddy and asked a million questions. They were super clingy and Jackson was being really crazy, like  attention-seeking behaviors times a thousand. I rushed around to make them dinner so we could rush out the door to a Cub Scout meeting. Chad stayed home to rest; the day of having his eyes poked and prodded wore him out.

The Cub Scout meeting ended at 8—Jackson’s and Gracie’s bedtime. We rushed home to get ready for bed. What happened next was not my finest moment as a parent. Jackson wouldn’t get his pajamas on—wouldn’t even take off his coat—so I tried to help him. He flailed and accidentally threw a container of Legos all over the floor, and then immediately said “I didn’t do that!” I lost it. LOST it. I went off on him, let him know that yes, he did that, and no, it wouldn’t have happened if he’d just gotten his jammies on by himself in the first place. I lectured a while on how he never takes responsibility for anything, how all he had to do was say “oops, I didn’t mean to do that,” and start picking up his toys, but instead he immediately lied and said he didn’t do it. He lay down on the floor, a teary mess, still not in jammies and now with Legos everywhere.

I am not proud of yelling at my kid. I am not proud of making him cry and cry. I wish I had handled the situation better. I tried to mitigate the damage by letting him know that even though I was mad, it wasn’t really about him, it was about the crappy day. That even though he made some bad choices and made the whole situation worse, I still love him more than anything else in the world and always will. I hugged him tight, hoping the hug could undo the damage done by the angry words. I don’t think it can; he is a very sensitive kid. He did calm down and get his jammies on, though, so that’s something.

Tomorrow has to be a better day. It couldn’t be a lot worse.

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