It finally happened.
And if I’m honest I can say I’m surprised it hadn’t happened already.
I fell holding one of my children.
I’ve mentioned a time or two how klutzy I am, and it’s true. As I’m typing this I’m covered in a plethora of bruises, bumps, scratches and cuts from bike rides, stumblings or just everyday walking around my house.
At one point a couple of weeks ago I looked like someone who’d been in a bad car accident.
But the thing about falling is that you don’t expect it. Your guard is usually down and you can’t anticipate how it will go.
I’d heard so many stories of parents who have fallen holding their children. For every five who were able to twist around and protect their little one, there’s one who fell on their child and broke their arm.
So this was a daily fear of mine. I continually worried about whether or not I’d be able to shield whomever I was holding. Walking up and down stairs holding the baby proved to be troublesome since I couldn’t stop picturing myself tumbling down. Add to that a mild case of self-diagnosed vertigo and it’s enough to make me not want to ever walk up another stair.
But that’s not something I can avoid. It’s a part of everyday life, especially in my house where my kids’ rooms are upstairs and everything else is down. So I suck it up and try not to think about that sort of thing.
Which is exactly when it happened.
I wasn’t at home and I wasn’t on my guard.
Both children had spent the night at their grandparents’ houses the night before since I was celebrating turning 30. My husband, Chris, and I had just come from picking up Adele, the baby, at my parents’ house and were on our way to pick up Sebastian from Chris’ parents.
I was carrying Adele from the car, as well as my purse and diaper bag. I walked from the car to the porch steps fine, but as I started up the steps my shoe, my cheap, $3 flip flop, caught on one of the bottom steps. I tried to stop myself from falling, to catch my balance, but it just didn’t happen. I was going down and there wasn’t much I could do about it.
And so, in that short split-second, I situated myself so I would take the brunt of the fall. My shin hit first, then my hip and elbow.
But I did it. I protected Adele. She was a little shaken up, I think, from the fall, and fussed a little, but thankfully it wasn’t from pain.
It took me a minute to stop shaking and be able to stand up. When I did I was stiff and sore, something that would stay with me for a few days, along with the bruises and scrapes I still carry. And I will probably keep the scar on my elbow, which is OK. It’ll be a constant reminder to me that I can do this parenting thing. I can keep my kids safe to the best of my ability, to the best of my control.
And that makes me feel so much better.
*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise's Wednesday's Woman on July 27, 2011.