I sat on my cherished corner of the couch, sipping my French pressed coffee, absorbed in the business I had delayed for nearly two weeks. I was soaking in the silence, like one soaks in the warm sunlight on summer’s day. It was the vibration that starled me first, then followed by the blarring of my obnoxious ringtone that shook me to reality. A number I did not recognize.
For a moment, I toyed with the idea of dismissing it to voicemail. At the last minute, I pressed “Accept” and my voiced cracked a forced, “HEEELLO!?”
“Is this Allison’s mom?” the voice chirped. Shit. I immediately discerned that this was the voice of the school nurse.
“Yes, it is,” I hesitantly breathed, through my exigent grimace that had formed about my face. My thoughts go to days earlier.
Five days earlier, Allison was promenading around the tiled edge of our sunken tub, when she slipped and toppled to the floor 2 feet below. We heard her cries echo throughout from the second floor and shriek to the first. The clamourous thud was next, followed by the whimpers and moans. Mr. Bear jumped to his feet, leaped to the staircase, taking two, three steps at a time, while I sat immobilized and incapacitated. I am a coward. I cannot move. I am powerless. I do not want to see what is wrong. I panicked.
I trailed behind Mr. Bear, assuring that he would be the first responder. There was no blood. There was no head injury. I whisper my thanks to God and Allie’s guardian angels and scooped up my big, little girl into my arms and attempted to soothe her hurts. She buried her face into the crook of my arm and sobbed her little, big girl sobs, as I cede my own sobs to console her. I felt vulnerable, exposed and buried my own face to hide my frailty—my cowardess. And that, I found reasons to swaddle a baby.
I took a deep breath and coaxed, “Are you okay? What were you doing?” not waiting for an answer, I wrapped her up in the bath towel and dried the water droplets before they rolled from shoulder to wrist.
Fortunately, while her back was sore for a couple days after, she was fine. We alternated between hot and cold compresses over the weekend, however, she was all right. She is a lucky little girl.
“Mrs. Lohr, this is Nurse xxxx, at Your_daughter’s_school. I have Allison—-” she informed.
Time froze for what felt like an eternity.
“Allison is fine. I just called to let you know that during lunch she fell from the monkey bars on the playground,” she continued.
I could feel my throat rise from my chest and the color drain from my face and rush to my limbs, making my hands feel heavy.
“She bumped her chin and bit her tongue. She is not bleeding badly, but she did bite it and it is bleeding a bit. She is ready to go back to class, so I am going to put her on. So, hold on…” she implored.
“Hiii, Mommy. I fell off the monkey bars” I could hear the tears welling up in her by the cracks in her voice and the tears began to flow in my own eyes. The sobs were coming quicker with each word she expelled.
“Hi, Baby! Are you okay? I heard what happened. I am going to be there to pick you up in about an hour or so. I love you, Sweet Pea! Are you going to be able to get back to class?” I blubbered, trying to regain my composure. I was trying to convince my voice to be strong and confident, although I was melting into a soppy mess on the floor. There it is again. My heart in my throat.
“Yeeess. I can, Mama. My chin and my tongue hurts and it was bleeding. It hurts really, really bad. (Indescernable whimpering)” she stammered, barely able to speak. Her voice was thick and breath heavy.
“I’ll be there in about an hour, Sweetheart. Can you be a great big girl and go back to class? Are you okay to go back to class?”
“Yes, Mommy, I can,” she whispered and handed the phone back to the nurse.
The nurse assured me that Allie was fine until she heard my voice. I could believe that, because I felt the same way when I heard Allie’s. When I arrived at the school afterschool, she rushed toward me as soon as she identified me in the sea of parents in front of the school.
“MOOOOOOMMMMMYYYY!” she screeched, running toward me with her tongue stuck out as she ran. and hugged me while her entire little, big girl being.
Her jaw hurts and she asked if I could “juice her dinner” because it hurts her jaw to chew. She shared with me that it was not so bad to be hurt because she received much attention. My only child. Always looking for the silverlining in every cloud.
There is quite a large gash on her tongue. She has spent most of her time with her tongue hung more than halfway out. It is difficult to understand her. She is going to survive from this injury and for that I am grateful. She has a bruise and a scab on her chin. I often reflect on a addage I heard years ago, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” It is moments like these that I believe these worder to be no truer.