As you know I have three children, one oldest girl, my middle boy child and my youngest girl. They are all grown now and I will tell you sometimes I’m like “Wow! Thank goodness!” because a few times I wasn’t certain that they would all make it. I was a bit of a panicky mother, but after the panic wore off, I was the mother that sent my kids to school if they didn’t pass the mom test “Do you have a fever? Are you puking? and Can you walk on it?” This is a test that I have failed many times. But a mom has to have boundaries and also expect border skirmishes on the regular. You may have to do the walk of assholism to go and get your puking feverish kid from school because they didn’t pass the mom test and now they do.
Okay….This story comes straight to you from My panic days as a mother. I once brought my son to the hospital because he had a blue dot on his head….when it washed off, thank you to the nurse who was sensible enough to do this, I was relieved…that was one very expensive shampooing for my son.
We had recently moved to Pennsylvania from my hometown in Massachusetts where I had lived my entire life since I was three years old. I had a six-year-old, a four-year old and a one-year old. My husband had just started at work and he wasn’t home much. We were living in an apartment building on the bottom floor. The floors were carpeted and beneath the carpet was a cement floor. My children loved to color and read and there was always a book or four hundred on the floor at one time. My oldest daughter and my son were entertaining themselves while I was putting the baby down for her nap.
To put a one-year old down for a nap is like an act of congress. First is the lighting absolutely perfect? Is the sound level at the optimal decibel? Is the baby comfortable and sleepy? Is mom so tired that she has passed out first and woken up by the baby finger straight up the nostril and into the brain? And why is her finger fucking wet?
Finally the baby is asleep and I am going to go into the living room and clean up a bit. I am living with monsters and they are filthy little beings that insist on having everything on the floor in case they need it. I am going to go in and undo this mess for a good solid half an hour so that in the next five minutes it can look exactly the same as it does now. I walk in and start picking up the contents off of the floor so that I can feel good about myself. My son and my oldest daughter are chattering excitedly together.
“Mom, I have got to show you something!” my son begins.
“It’s so cool, Mom! Wait until you see it.” my oldest daughter states with her eyes gleaming. “Brother has a really neat trick that he can do!”
My son is standing there in his sweatpants and T-shirt limbering up for his amazing and daring stunt he wants to show me.
I am always a willing participant in fanfare, “Oh Yeah? You got something cool to show me? I can’t wait to see it Bug!”
“Be prepared to be amazed!” my oldest smiles and she is really proud of her brother.
“Can I pick up these books first?” I ask “Should I clean up a spot for you to do your trick?”
“No, no! I have been practicing while you were sleeping!” he announces.
*Ummm excuse me, I was putting the baby down….not sleeping! WTF do this kids think I do all day? Okay I may have drifted but I definitely wasn’t sleeping.
“Okay. Where should I sit? Or should I stand?” I ask even though my feelings are a little hurt over that crack about me sleeping.
“Assistant, show the lady to her seat!” my son says to his older sister.
“Ma’am follow me!” Oldest daughter obliges.
I follow her and walk over to my grand seat on the couch. It is the front row to the act, I hardly ever can afford these seats. I am usually in the mezzanine behind the lady from sesame street wearing her fruit hat. I sit down and am ready to see this grand act. This physical feat that my clearly talented and brave son is about to perform.
My daughter walks over to the center of the living room and announces for her younger brother, “Ladies and gentlemen!” I look around because there literally is just lady and no gentlemen in the audience. “Be prepared to be amazed by the greatest trick to be done in all of the world. You will laugh. You will cry. You will ask yourself ‘how does he dooo that!’ Now are you ready for the one and the only great Brrrrooooottthhherrrrrrr!”
I clap with the pretend audience and I see the fine acrobat take the stage. He runs around the stage and bows. He thanks his lovely assistant for her kind words and he gets himself prepared to do his death-defying trick that he had prepared a solid twenty minutes for. I mean the stamina and the shear determination of this kid. Some people spend their entire lives training for such greatness…. My son takes a running start and he jumps in the air and he twirls….yes twirls….and lands on a slippery fucking coloring book and lands directly on his chin. Oh for fuck’s sake, I should have insisted on cleaning up first. I run over to him and check to see if he is okay. My son’s face was in pure horror. He was stunned silent. His face is white as chalk and he doesn’t even cry. He stands up, tries to say something to me. He stops from the pain in his jaw. He runs to the couch and picks up a throw pillow pushes it to his jaw and announces “I’ve gotta go to bed now.” He runs to his bedroom and lies down in bed.
I am sitting on the floor in shock because what the fuck just happened here? My son never and I mean NEVER just chooses to go to bed. EVER!!!!!!!!!!! I call my husband and I don’t actual reach him of course. I leave a voicemail.
“So, um, your son did a twirl and landed on a book and then smashed his face into the fucking cement floor. I think I should take him to the emergency room.”
I go to check on my son.
“Bug, are you okay? Do you think I should bring you to have a doctor look at it?”
He shakes his head no.
“Can I see?” I ask
He shakes his head no.
“Do you need me to get you some ice or something to make it feel better?”
He shakes his head no.
He never cries. He never says anything. My son is not the silent type. He might be strong but he is not silent. His oldest sister looks shit scared because she too knows that her brother is typically going to talk about what went wrong. How he can improve his trick. He does none of this. He lays in his bed and holds a throw pillow on his jaw.
My husband walks in the door and says, “Did you call me?”
“No it was your other fucking wife!” I think but do not say. When I get nervous and scared I become a sarcastic asshole but only in my thoughts…and sometimes out of my face but also sometimes out of my mouth.
“Your son fell and I think he is really hurt. He is so hurt he didn’t even cry.”
“Then how do you know he is hurt?” my husband remembers the blue dot incident and he knows I am not a good judge of when things are desperately wrong.
“Because he just got up, grabbed a pillow and ran to bed.” I say and like a real fucking asshole I start laughing. Laughing. Laughing because my kid’s reaction was so strange, not because he is hurt. Because I am laughing my husband starts laughing. My oldest daughter looks at us both with shame and announces “He is really hurt guys, it’s not funny!”
I gestured to my daughter as if to say “See? Even the six-year-old agrees with me and she’s practically a better mother than I am!”
My husband goes in to check on his only boy and tell him to rub some dirt on it and suck it up. But my husband comes back in with my son in his arms and says “Have you seen his jaw? We have to get him to the hospital.”
I almost left my sleeping baby I was so worried. I said ALMOST! Don’t get your panties in a wad. I heard her cry as I was closing the door. I grabbed the baby and off to the hospital we go. I now do NOT want to look under my son’s throw pillow to see his jaw because I have a vivid imagination and what I conjured up in my brain was obviously the jaw needs to be amputated. Good thing I learned some sign language. *by sign language I mean the alphabet and a song about a bear. I am going to be able to communicate with my son after they remove half of his face. Oh my poor baby boy.
We get to the hospital and we have to wait for the doctor. The nurse sees my son holding his pillow firmly in place because of the severe and clearly unrepairable damage done to his jaw and probably teeth and maybe even his ear…Oh MY GOD, My poor son!
She says “Let me get a good look at it.”
I don’t want to see it! I really would prefer to not see it ever. I hope they can get us in touch with a good plastic surgeon. Fuck me, my poor child. Will he ever speak again? Will I ever get to hear that sweet raspy voice of his. So melodic was his voice. So gentle and kind and thoughtful were the words he chose to speak.
My son eventually agrees to pull the pillow from his face and there it is a big bruise and maybe some swelling.
PHEWWWWWWW!!!!! My son is going to be okay. Relieved is not even strong enough of a word I could use for what I felt. I was elated. My handsome boy just is a little banged up.
They take him in and do X-rays and announce that there was a little bit of a hairline fracture and some bruising of the bone. It was going to be painful for days and he would not really feel much like talking or eating. Soft foods and plenty of ibuprofen to bring down the swelling and to help with the pain.
We bring him home with the other two children….see I remembered them all. We let him have ice cream for dinner and we rent movies. Dad and big sister went to Blockbuster to pick it out….because that is what we did in the olden times…we got the horses saddled up and we went to a big video store to rent movies on discs. You needed to have a card or else you couldn’t rent movies. My God what a hassle it was. Remember “Be Kind Rewind” days? No? Me neither I was just checking to see if you were old, because I’m not. Okay I am so old I remember that if you got a scratch in your record it was useless. But the point isn’t how old I am, the point is my son was going to be alright.
Moral of my story: If you are going to do a twirl you need to pick up the books off of the floor. I mean what did you think you were going to learn from this? Don’t panic. Never panic! Okay, don’t panic, your kid is going to make it.
Until next time 🙂