I've always thought of myself as a tough girl. I can change my own flat tire. I can operate a drill. I've never cried to try and get out of a ticket. At camp I neve shied away from rolling in the mud or hoisting a canoe over my head. Bows? Frills? Pink? No thank you.
But life has managed to knock some of that toughness (or self-perceived toughness--maybe you always thought I was a girly wimp) out of me, mainly by knocking me out. The summer after my freshman year of college I slammed by thumb in the door while walking out of an office. By the time I got to my car (red Tercel--remember that?) my nail was turning blue and I was not feeling well. Cut to me waking up in a pool of my own blood after having passed out cold on the sidewalk splitting my head open (and sitting up and then passing out again, and then sitting up and....you get the picture).
Ten years later I'm walking down the basement stairs of our previous home. I slip. I fall all the way to the landing with my butt hitting every single step on the way down. Paul asks if I'm okay and I laughingly say with as much drama and sarcasm as I can manage "I'll never walk again!" just as the pain hits me and I pass out. Nice parting words, eh? I finally sit up and assure Paul I will be okay while he calls 911 and promptly pass out again.
Last December Darth Vadar and Luke Skywalker were battling in our house. Skywalker (Momo) was making his escape with Vadar (Phoebe) close on his heels. He ran into his room and slammed the door behind him which caught Darth Vadar right between the eyes. Phoebe is screaming bloody murder but, surprisingly, does not have a bloody forehead. I sit her down in the bathroom to get a good look-- right into to the deep cut--big mistake--and feel a very familiar woozy feeling. I make a run for my soft, comfy bed where I (say it with me now) pass out. Paul takes us both to the ER where she gets three stitches and I get my pride handed to me fresh off the floor.
But the tide seems to be turning.
This spring when Moses busted his head wide open in a freak kite-flying accident (I couldn't make this stuff up) I held myself together. I told the school nurse and the ER nurses that under no circumstances was I to see what was under his bandage. I got his half conscious little self to the hospital. I held his hand, but turned away while the examined and repacked the gash. Thankfully, Paul arrived by the time the put in the seventeen stitches so I could wait outside. Perhaps I'm no tougher than I used to be. Maybe I just learned how to manange my little problem (by not looking at gaping wounds). Or maybe I knew I was the only parent in charge and I had to remain composed and conscious until the cavalry arrived.
And now we get to last night when I , once again, proved I could hold myself upright in the face of injury.
I was upstairs, the kids were down. I heard screaming and crying--so far a normal evening. Then Phoebe comes tearing upstairs screaming that Moses lost his tooth. Now, Mo is about the right age to start loosing teeth, but I knew he did not have a loose tooth. I run downstairs to bloody pandamonium. Mo is shrieking and bleeding and clearly missing one of his front upper teeth. I carry him upstairs and sit him in the kitchen. I wet a washcloth and fill it with ice and put it in his mouth. I bring him water to swish and spit. While I hold him on my lap and try to calm him down I ask Phoebe (who is also bawling) what happened.
Finally the story came out. Oliver had "the cape" (part of Mo and Ollie's Halloween costumes from a couple years ago when they both went as our own made up super hero: Captain Hotwheels) and Mo wanted it. They started playing tug of war. Phoebe joined Ollie's side. Moses decided to use his teeth instead of his hands. Phoebe and Ollie gave one great pull and--BANG.
My head did feel a little swimmy at this point. How gross is that? Maybe if I knew I had backup I would have been overcome. But Paul was at a meeting and I had no choice but to suck it up and act like the tough mama I fancy myself to be.
Phoebe crawled around until she found Mo's giant tooth (roots intact) on the carpet. After the bleeding subsided we all ate icecream and watched High School Musical. The Tooth Fairy came and brought a Sacagawea dollar. I think Moses is going to have a gap for a very long time--that tooth was SO not ready to come out. And hopefully, there will be no further tests to my ability to retain consciousness in the face of pain and gore. So I can go on imagining how tough I am.