We had no plans for New year's Eve. Forcing 3 kids 5 and under to stay up 'til midnight just didn't appeal to us. Besides, each of them have some form/degree of Hand Foot and Mouth disease. Charming so far, huh? Julia came up with last minute plans. I was in Max's room putting his laundry away when I heard the thump. Julia started to cry that basic "I fell down" cry, but it quickly upgraded to "bloody murder" shriek. I hurried into our bedroom and found her bowing down before Gramma Louise's antique chair, which she met on the way down because her stocking feet caused her to slip as she was running to the bathroom. Blood was streaming down her face from her forehead and we immediately had plans for New Year's Eve. Our neighbors took the little ones while we drove to the ER. Pulling up to the entrance, the inside looked like an after Christmas sale. The place was packed. I knew it was going to be a long night. Marty stayed for a while, but went home to put Ella and Max to bed, and Julia and I waited it out. She had since calmed down. Actually, she had calmed down while still at home, even though her head was still bleeding. As we sat in the emergency room, no crying did she make. The only thing that remotely sounded like a complaint was when she said, "I wish I could go home and take a nap." She was ideal. It was getting well past her bedtime and she was tired, but she waited so patiently for her name to be called. People started to notice. How could they not? They had hours to just sit and observe all the sick people while they waited for their number to be up. It was like being in The Hotel California. "Guests" were checking in, but it seemed they could never leave. People started to comment on how well Julia was handling herself. Shrek was playing on the silent TV, so she watched it, filling in the dialogue from her memory banks. When Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve came on, I told her we were probably going to be sitting in that room until next year. It was around 11PM that they called her name. "Thank God!" I exclaimed out loud, and began wishing a Happy New Year to my new ER family that I had been sitting with for hours. I had explained to Julia that it was going to hurt when they gave her a numbing shot before they sewed her up and asked her if she could be brave. She reluctantly nodded. I wanted to be realistic about it. I wanted to be honest about it. Sometimes life is going to hurt, but I told her the pain wouldn't last that long and tomorrow it would all be over. She cooperated. She whimpered as they prepared, but she lay still. Of course she cried when they stuck a needle in her forehead, but she looked at me as I tried to distract her with musings of her upcoming birthday girlie tea party she's having and how she could tell all her friends about what happened to her head. As soon as the doctor was done, Julia was done crying. Back to the same level headed, even tempered great kid she always is. She didn't flail, she wasn't uncontrollable, and she even walked out on her own 2 feet even though it was 2 1/2 hours past her bedtime. When we walked back through the waiting room, our ER family smiled, waved, clapped and wished us a Happy New Year. By the time we got home, gave Julia a much deserved cookie, got her jammies on and tucked her in bed, it was exactly midnight. So I kissed my wife. I have a great kid. So thankful for her. I pray she can grow up facing life the same way she faced stitches, calmly and patiently waiting, crying when it hurts, and getting up and walking in her own strength when it's all over. Come to think of it, I pray that for me, too.