A couple of weeks ago we were eating dinner and Sabrina was the last one slowly nibbling at her food so I went into the kitchen to put the food away while she finished in the dining room alone. Alex and Elisa had gone upstairs. I thought I heard crying so I went to find the source. I could see that Sabrina was in the bathroom near the dining room so I asked if she was okay. She said, “I’m in the bathroom.” So I thought she was okay. She often sings in the bathroom so I figured that’s what I had heard. Elisa came downstairs and asked me what was on the floor because it looked like blood. I went into the dining room and saw a trail of small blood drops from the dining room to the bathroom. I knocked on the bathroom door and asked Sabrina if she had a bloody nose. She opened the door and was crying. She showed me her bloody foot.
She had gone into the family room to play with a balloon that was in there when she stepped on a sharp piece of plaster that was hidden in the carpet from something she broke in there the week before. (I sure thought I vacuumed enough after that!) It hurt her, but she went back to her seat to finish her food when she noticed it was bleeding so she went into the bathroom. Our kitchen is around a corner so I couldn’t see any of that happening. She didn’t want to tell me because she didn’t want to get in trouble for not eating.
When she said that, I lost it. I just started crying and crying. I imagined her in there by herself, in pain and suffering alone when she didn’t need to be. I try to have open lines of communication with my children and I never want them afraid of me. In my mind I jumped to when she is older and either does something she shouldn’t have or something happens to her and she doesn’t want to come to me so she suffers alone in pain. I didn’t have waterproof mascara on and my whole face turned black with my gush of tears. What do I need to do to improve our relationship? Is it too late? Lots of worries just wouldn’t let me stop crying. I know it sounds so ridiculous to you. I don’t know why I was so hurt. Of course, I had to explain the reason for my crying to Sabrina (and Alex and Elisa were there too) about how sad I was that she didn’t feel like she could come tell me what had happened and blah blah blah.
I was still feeling sad about it the next day when Sabrina came running up to me and showed me her hand. “Mom, I hit my hand on the drawer in the kitchen. See?” I kissed it and told her I hoped it felt better and she said, “Mom, I told you when I got hurt!” So I guess we’re okay for now.
Here's a quote from Elder L. Tom Perry that I think outlines so many important ways to be close with your children.
"Today, I would like you to pause, ponder, and think of the value of an immortal soul, especially the ones entrusted to you as parents. Where are your priorities? Have you committed yourself to give the sufficient time necessary to train your children?
Dr. Nick Stinnett of the University of Nebraska gave a most interesting talk at an annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations. It was titled 'Characteristics of Strong Families.' His six points were:
1. A strong family spends a significant amount of time together while playing, working, eating, or in recreation. Although family members all have outside interests, they find adequate time to spend together.
2. Strong families have a high degree of commitment to each family member, as indicated not only by the time spent together, but also by their ability to work together in a common cause.
3. Strong families have good communication patterns, as indicated by the time spent listening and speaking to each other in conversation.
4. Strong families have a high degree of religious orientation.
5. Strong families have the ability to deal with crises in a positive way because they have spent time together, are committed to each other, and have good communication patterns.
6. Strong family members frequently give compliments to each other which are genuine and not superficial. (See “In Search of Strong Families,” in Building Family Strengths: Blueprints for Action, ed. Nick Stinnett, et al., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979, pp. 23–30.)
We who have embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ ought to have the devotion and the determination necessary to build strong family units. May God bless us that we may 'organize [ourselves]; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house' (D&C 109:8) for those we love that is worthy of an eternal family unit is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
L. Tom Perry, “Train Up a Child,” Ensign, May 1983, 77