Friday morning was painful. And scary. It’s still a little painful, to tell the truth.
It was early in the morning, like 5am early. I was up for the fourth time, I think, with my sick one year old. Both kids were sick, in fact, and so was I. I was heading downstairs with the sick one in my arms, hoping to get him back to sleep with a lap around the house. That, however, did not happen.
It was dark of course, at the top of our flight of stairs. Fifteen wooden steps. Painted white, for some reason. I reached my right hand out to grab the little ledge of wainscoting that rises up about three quarters of the way up the wall. I do this every time, whether or not I have a kid in my arms, I am now aware. I stepped with my left foot. And missed. I continued in a forward motion, my left shin landing instead, and we road in that position–rapidly in slow motion–the rest of the way down the stairs.
I was painfully aware of my son. Terrified. Certain I was going to smash him into pieces with my own body weight. I can’t remember how precisely I held him, but as I have examined this fall, I imagine I looked much like a super hero in flight, one leg tucked and the other straight behind me. Damsel in my capable arms. I may have had my right arm out in front of me…I can’t be sure.
It was such a loud fall, the percussive way stairs are. When we exploded out the bottom, I somehow thrust the one year old out in front me, so I wouldn’t land on him. I stretched forward in a remarkably athletic fashion. I remember watching the back of his head hit the floor and thinking, “I failed, I failed, I failed.”
My husband was there instantly. He picked up the crying baby and tried to get a response from me. I was in a pile of my own arms and legs. In the thirty seconds or so that it took me to crawl to the rug, my son was sitting up, smiling, apparently ready to start his day. He was fine! Perfect. Unblemished.
And I wept. I cried and cried as the reality of what had just happened settled around me. And as I began to feel pain. And as I looked in wonder at my child in front of me, happy and bouncy in that wonderful way children are. It was amazing. My left leg was a mess of stair-burn and bruising, my left elbow banged up, and I have a cute little scrape on my chin and the bridge of my nose. I also jacked my right shoulder in some strange way that makes me say ow more often than normal. Sleep is uncomfortable. But nothing too terrible happened to me. And I may not be a super hero, but I am Wolverine, my body will heal all by itself (always so impressive, I think), and it is already much better. Today I mostly walked without a limp.
I think the emotional experience of the fall is really interesting. After my initial cry, that dump of feelings on the rug, I cried again when I called my mom a couple of hours later. And then, when I went to the doctor to get checked out, later again that day, I cried all over again. This when I found out the baby inside of me (19 weeks) was perfectly fine. And I felt other little chokey jolts when I thought about it, specifically regarding my kids.
It made me think back on being a little kid. I used to try to hold back tears as a kid all the time. Why did I do that? I wonder how I got to that place where I thought I shouldn’t cry. I don’t really do that anymore. Sometimes, but usually now I’ll just let myself experience tears.
I’m good now. I think the crying is all out of me. Now it can be as funny as it was terrible. Now that I know everyone is safe and sound.
Read more about his here.