Gravity has never been my friend.
I have tripped over dogs, toys and people. Fallen down stairs, over curbs and through doorways. I’ve broken my elbow, sprained my ankle and on one particularly memorable occasion, both broken and dislocated my knee.
I’ve spent more than my fair share of time in the ER. I’ve been escorted there by family, driven by coworkers, and, in the Case of the Broken Dislocated Knee, arrived by ambulance. I’ve had so many X-rays that I’m beginning to fear I might eventually suffer from radiation poisoning.
There are almost always bruises on some part of my anatomy. I bump into counters. Run smack into walls. Try to walk through large, heavy things, like cement blocks. There is nothing and nowhere that is adequately protected from my supreme gracelessness.
If klutziness were a superpower, I would be the undisputed Queen of Klutzes.
So it’s never been a question of if I would fall with my daughter in my arms, but when. The answer? October 10, 2009. That’s right. She made it a whole six months and one week without having her life endangered by her well-meaning mother.
You know what’s even better? I fell up the stairs. That’s right, up. That takes talent, people.
It was 8:30 a.m., and it’d already been a bad morning. I had already slipped on a stray piece of tulle (someday I’ll learn to pick up after myself). I’d stepped squarely in a pile of cold cat vomit. Tori had spit floods of regurgitated formula right down my shirt. And to top it all off, she peed on the carpet while I was wiping her poop off the yoga mat we use to change her.
Like I said, it was a bad morning.
We were on our way up to the bathroom to clean up her latest bout of explosiveness when it happened. One minute, I was climbing up the stairs, telling Tori that I really hoped this would be her only bath of the day. The next, my toe was hooked inside the leg of my pajama pants (I told you I’m Super Talented), and I was flying toward the floor, baby held squarely in front of me.
For one terrified instant, I thought I was about to land on her, squishing the life from her fragile body. Fortunately, the powers that be lent me the ability to twist myself into a pretzel so that I landed half on my side, with Tori safely clutched to my chest.
I patted her down, making sure she was okay (she was fine. surprised, but fine). Then I leaned up against the wall and did my usual post-fall inventory. Nothing was broken, but my back hurt. As did my poor, much abused knee.
That’s when I burst into tears.
Not just because I was in pain, or because I’d have to spend my birthday hopped up on pain killers, but because I knew that this might have been the first time I put my child’s life in danger, but it was by no means the last.
Tori better hurry up and learn to walk. Because my arms? Are not a safe place to be.