When I go to the park, I’m not thinking, “Gee, I hope I don’t get hurt.”
When I take my kids to the playground, the last thing on my mind is the possibility of my own injury. I mean, really. There are so many other things to think about. I’m on the lookout for new friends. I try to anticipate what random items my son might scoop into his mouth. But mostly, I’m watching both of my kids navigate the equipment while I position myself to catch them should one of them fall.
So, who will catch me when I fall?
Here’s the thing, my one year old son is a bold, little maniac. He’s ridiculously fearless. He’ll walk right off a slide or a ledge. He’ll eat leaves, hug sick kids, and try any number of stairs on his own. He’s nowhere near in the business of protecting himself, and would probably greatly benefit from a couple of good spills that do just enough damage to wake him up to reality. And maybe that will happen sometime (preferably on my husband’s watch).
So, when he walked across the playground equipment, and out of my reach, I knew I needed to hop down, duck under the bridge, and grab him on the other side. Of course, I was looking at him and not where I was stepping. It turns out that the step down was about eight inches further than I thought it was. Ouch.
Even when we’re hurt, we’re still moms.
I was so certain that I’d broken my ankle. I heard the snap of a bone. I dropped all the way to the ground, onto my hip then to my back. I called out “oh no! I think I just broke my ankle.” Surprisingly, I didn’t curse or cry. I held it together. I looked up to where my son was still standing near the ledge of the other side. “Can someone grab my son?” I called to the moms standing nearby. But there was no need. They’d already jumped into action. One mom grabbed him, and the other chased my daughter across the playground to bring her back over to me.
Moms are superheroes.
“Who can I call?” The mom who’d brought my son to me asked. She took my phone and immediately started looking to find my husband’s number. The other mom who’d brought my daughter back to me comforted both my kids, letting them know that I’d be okay.
They helped me stand. They carried my kids to the car, and buckled them into their seats. They offered to help me walk too, but I’d hobbled my way across on adrenaline.
“Are you sure you can drive?”
It was a fair question. Fortunately, it was my left foot and I drive an automatic.
“Thank you so much for helping me.” I meant it then, and I mean it now. Thanks to those two moms who didn’t hesitate a moment to help another mom who they didn’t know. You were my superheroes.
So many people will say a sprain is worse than a break.
It turns out I didn’t actually break my foot. I sprained my ankle so badly that I tore the outside, the inside, and the top of my foot. It swelled up to twice the size of my other ankle. The bruising and discoloration covered almost every part of my foot, spread up my ankle to the back of my leg, and to the front of my shin.
It’s bad and it sucks, but thankfully life doesn’t stop. I’m still a mom, and I’m still taking care of my kids. A week later I took them back to that same park in a medical boot. I was still able to push them on the swings, help them down the slides, and even climb up on the equipment a bit, though I was more careful to look where I stepped this time.
I’ve run into both of the women who helped me that day. It turns out that the one was a mom and the other was a nanny. So I’d like to clarify – moms and nannies are superheroes. They both love children and they both help other women, immediately, without hesitation. Women are awesome.