I have a confession to make.
I am clumsy.
There. I’ve said it. I am not a graceful or coordinated person. I trip, stumble, crash, bonk, drop, bang. I’m the kind of person who ought to go through life with a safety helmet and a good plastic surgeon.
I don’t think it’s my body’s fault, though. I have certain athletic abilities. I’m a pretty fair tennis player, a good swimmer, when I’m focused. Because that’s my problem. Focus.
Call me a dumb blonde, call me a distracted mom, but the truth is, most of my accidents happen because I simply am not paying attention. I’m thinking about other things, like a piece of writing I’m struggling with, a child’s after-school activity, whether or not I remembered to put on underwear.
Today is a great example. As usual, Mitzi and Cooper were late going out to wait for the bus. I hurried them along and grabbed my reusable grocery bags to throw in the car. (I must have these with me at all times, in the event of a shopping emergency, like a sudden need for diapers or eggs or cabernet.) I opened the minivan trunk, tossed them inside, and started to slam the door shut. At the same time I was thinking about Mitzi’s field trip today, whether I remembered everything she needed; I was also peering around the car to make sure that Cooper wasn’t running into traffic. The door came down, slam, into the bridge of my nose. My teeth crashed together so hard that had my tongue been any closer it would’ve been severed. Stars exploded in front of my now-closed eyes. I wondered if I was going to pass out.
Let me just pause here to point out that, clearly, it was my own stupid environmentalism which caused this. If I was a plastic bag user, I wouldn’t have needed to open trunk in the first place. Damn the stupid earth.
Anyway. Naturally, the bus was moments away. I had to run inside to grab a tissue for the blood now oozing down my nose, then try not to look too injured in case anyone I knew was driving by. My sensitive Cooper was looking at me with wide, worried eyes, ready to crumble the moment I did. I smiled instead of bursting into tears. “Darn it,” I said. He smiled back, “That’s a bad word!” The bus came, took the big kids to school. I was simultaneously wondering if my nose was broken (no) and if Mitzi had her Math Olympics homework (no).
The wound wasn’t too bad, as it turned out. Anywhere else on my body, a bandage would’ve worked, or maybe a stitch. But not on my face. Too much movement of the skin. The doctor fixed me up with DermaGlue and SteriStrips. “Too bad it’s not Halloween,” he joked. The little girls thought this was hilarious. “Mommy can be a monster!” Ellie laughed.
Ha, ha. As he worked I tried to keep the girls from wrecking the exam room. Even in my pain and rush to get to the doctor, I’d thought to bring diversions, books, pens, stickers. “Mommy, I can’t get this one!” Joanna wailed, so, blinded by the doctor’s light burning on my face, I peeled the sticker for her to put God knows where. I just hoped it wasn’t on the computer or medical waste receptacle. I was half-paying attention to what the doctor was doing, but in the end I think he did all right. Hey, if there’s a scar it will get fixed next spring when another ENT takes care of my deviated septum and I get my nose job after all.
That’s mulit-tasking for you. Moms do it all the time. Some with less hazardous results than I.
So maybe I don’t need the crash helmet (though the plastic surgeon might come in handy for the nose job or my mommy-tummy issue). Maybe what this mom needs is….
Hold that thought. I need to settle a sibling dispute. And we know it’s not safe for me to multi-task. I am still without my safety gear.