Yesterday morning I walked into my friendly neighborhood Einstein Brothers Bagels to buy a bagel sandwich, split into two for my lunch and dinner. I had a long day ahead of me, sitting at the convention center talking to the three or four people wandering the rows of the home show on a weekday afternoon. I grabbed the little paper bag, turned to walk quickly out the door, and my foot caught the only little puddle of melted snow in the whole place. Then came the s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n, no, I'm not going to fall, I can catch my balance, whoa my top half is going down, whoa my legs are up above my top half, yes I am flying, keep my head up, OUCH!!! I was sprawled across the floor, had hit my knee and thumb hard, then twisted to hit my hip and wrist even harder. Flattened. Shocked. Skirt up to...getting the picture? Then a very sweet, eighty-something, bent and using a cane, little old man helped me to my feet. His sweet, little old wife gathered my purse and phone and bagel. She then brushed me off and gave me a hug, which of course, started me crying. Ouch my body. Ouch my ego. I thanked them for their loving gestures, then out I went, as fast as I could limp, every eye in the full restaurant firmly fixed on me. When I got to the car, the water-works broke loose, and I immediately called Corbin for sympathy, only to get his voice mail. Massive bruises started immediately, and today I sit at my desk achey and stiff, but broken I am not. Thankfully.
Yes, you may call me Grace. I am a faller. There is not a year that goes by without at least one terrible fall. A few of the most memorable...
A couple of years ago, Shakira had her first monster-huge party with her friends at our house. Corbin and I were mostly staying out of their hair upstairs, but checking in every once in a while. The kiddos had rearranged things in the living room to make room for exuberant wii participation, and one of the oversize leather armchairs was pushed against the bottom of the stairs. Shakira was sitting in that armchair (thank goodness it was Shakira!) as I walked down our very steep stairs with a full can of soda in my hand. Somewhere near the middle, I lost my footing and proceeded to catapult the rest of the way, landing hard on the back of the chair, my can of pepsi thudding firmly on the top of my precious daughter's head. As soda streamed down her face and the surrounding walls, a gigantic goose egg began to emerge, and those friends all looked at me like I was the absolute devil of mothers. Luckily, my daughter forgave me, even laughed, and most of the friends gave me a second chance and got to know some of my redeeming qualities.
Years ago, on our mountain, I was the first of the family to wake up on a lovely, sunny Sunday morning. I took a shower, then threw on a little nightgown. Because we were completely secluded, I often went outside in nothing but a nightgown and flip flops to water my flower garden. Corbin and Iver had been trying to locate our underground septic tank by digging a menagerie of large, five foot deep holes in the driveway. As I walked by the hole next to my garden, I remember making a mental note to avoid it. I watered and enjoyed my flowers, turned off the hose, and turned to walk into the house, smiling and not looking down. The next thing I knew, I was in the bottom of that hole, naked because my nightgown had hooked on a stick at the top and I had slid right out of it on my way down, and scraped from head to toe. Yes...head to toe and EVERYTHING in between. I managed to pull myself out, ran naked into the house, and climbed back into bed with Corbin, crying, laughing hysterically, and bleeding profusely. Poor Corbin...he really never knows what he is going to wake up next to.
There are a hundred stories, every one ridiculous. There was the time I slipped on the ice and landed with my head two inches from the blade of the ax Corbin had been splitting wood with the previous day. There was the time I was seven months pregnant with Iver, tripped and dove down the stairs, hit a chair at the bottom, and sent Aiko the iguana, who just happened to be sitting on the top of that chair, flinging across the room and into the window. He survived. Oh, I was naked in that one as well.
Then there is the story that started it all. It was the summer of 1980. I was ten years old and playing with my wonderful neighbor kids, the DeHaans and the Jacobs. We were playing hide and seek. I was safely and superbly hidden upstairs, saw an opportunity to get home-free, and ran down the stairs. Two things happened simultaneously, that changed my life and forever defined me as a faller. I tripped on Maria's doll on the third step down right as Kelly was walking across the bottom landing with his cello. Yes. That is indeed what I said. Cello. My dear readers, I hit that cello. I demolished that cello. Can you believe that karma hasn't come back to get me, or my dear cellist-daughter on that one? My knee was split open and I remember screaming, "my guts are hanging out!" That cut required four stitches, and as I laid in our living room recovering, my dear friend Kelly DeHaan brought over a poem he had written to help me feel better. This is all I recall from the poem:
You flung down the stairs like an old rubber band;
Wait 'til your older to try super-man.
My dear friend, Kelly, I try it often. And trust me, it was much easier when I was ten!
So, although I sit today with armpits, and a hip, and a knee that feel like they are on fire, I am crazy-thankful. Crazy-thankful that one of these lovely falls has not killed me yet. I am quite certainly convinced that one day, one will.