English Comp Essay #2 ~ Don’t Fret the Small Things

I put my first essay on my blog and asked for feeback on ways that I could make it better.  I received the help of some fabulous women {thank you a million!}.  The feedback I then received back from my professor floored me.  She thought it was excellent.  My first essay in 10 years was considered excellent.

This is my second essay, which is the main essay for the narrative unit.  It gets to be much longer than the first, which makes me happy, but we’re working with the same directions.  It needs to be on a vividly capture of a poignant moment or experience in the life of the author using a show not tell method.

Here is the first draft of the main essay for the unit.  I’d love any feedback you have to give me, you can leave it either in the comment section or email me.  Thank you!


I turned the corner to see her standing there, medicine bottle to her mouth, chugging it like she found a new liquid candy to consume. My heart fell into my stomach and just possibly might have stopped for a brief moment. Did I leave the one medication on the counter for her to have access to that could potentially kill her?

I seized the heart medicine, which normally kept her heart regulated, from her tiny little hands. Panic flew through my body, followed by thoughts of failure. Why wouldn’t I put something without a childproof cap up high? Why, the one time I set the medicine on the counter, did she discover how to pull out the drawers and climb?

“CRAP! We have to get to the hospital now! She’s hardly keeping her eyes open!” It was that fast. Not even ten minutes and she was already being affected by the medication that was supposed to save her life not kill her.

The drive to the hospital felt like an eternity. Trying everything in our power to just keep her alert and coherent was just about as easy as telling an unborn baby to hurry up and exit the womb. We made it though, and I rushed her limp body into the emergency room. The questions they were asking me sounded like they were coming from a distance. I couldn’t focus on anything other than demanding to know if she was going to be okay.

What I didn’t think about was that things had to start getting worse before there was any chance of getting better. The medication hadn’t even gone through her entirely yet, and poison control has never dealt with an overdose with this medication. “Just a little over the recommended dose can be fatal.” Those words coming from poison control to the doctors did not sit comfortably with me.

The first hospital transfer happened almost immediately. I held her close to my body as they pushed us into the ambulance. She needed to be at a hospital with a Pediatric ICU, so off we went. Things calmed down a bit after our arrival. She was in great care and I knew in my heart that she was going to be okay. We just had to ride this out.

“All done! All done!” the sweetest little voice said. She was shaking her hands to do the sign language along with it. Then the throwing up started and I felt relief flush over me. This has to be a good sign, right?

No, a good sign is everything is wasn’t. Her eyes bulged out and she froze, she wasn’t breathing. Nurses were rushing all around her and I didn’t know what to do, so I ran out of the room and dropped to my knees to pray to a God that I hoped was listening; a God I hoped had his arms wrapped tightly around the both of us as I didn’t know how to hold myself together anymore. From a far distance I could hear words no mom should ever have to hear, “Call it! Call it!” and doctors rushing in. Somebody grabbed me and held me so tight and told me, “She needs you, Mom, she’s breathing on her own and she’s waking up.”

“Oh, God, thank you for being here. I knew you were here and with us, I just didn’t know if you were here to save her or take her.” I think these words might have actually come out of my mouth in front of everybody. Either that or my thoughts were still so loud that I not only heard them internally but externally as well.

I sat next to my daughter’s hospital bed and thought about the normal night we would have been having. How instead of being mediflighted to Portland we would be fighting the frustrations of everyday life things. I’d probably be worrying about the list of undone chores, or the mess the kids made, an unpaid bill, but not praying for God to spare my daughter’s life.

We got discharged from the hospital a couple of days later and as we walked out of those hospital doors I walked out a completely changed person. I learned about the difference between the big scheme of life and the small stuff. I learned that it can always be worse, and you never know exactly what you’ll wake up to. Instead of worrying about the little everyday things, you could be praying for the life of your child. The messes, the bills, the exhaustion of being a mother will always be there, but will be forgotten. The beauty of seeing your child pick you a flower, or smile at your soul never will.

2 comments to English Comp Essay #2 ~ Don’t Fret the Small Things

  • Visiting for the first time! I’m doing the same thing with my fourth graders right now… capturing a small moment in a personal narrative. A great paper, but I wonder if it’s too broad? My understanding of this type of narrative is that you are supposed to focus on that one moment, ie take the moment you describe in your first three paragraphs and expand on that without going past it. But that might not be your assignment. I’m talking in circles… :)

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