I used to be quite accident prone. I say “used to be” because I’d like to think that I am no longer accident prone once I became an accountant. It really helps to eliminate accidents from your life when you just sit on your ass all day, buried under files at work. I broke my first bone at the age of 8, falling off a bike. Then I broke my collar bone at the age of 10, tripping and hitting a concrete sink at school. Then I broke my ankle at the age of 16 in PE class. Then I broke a few fingers at 20 playing rugby. Various cuts and bruises sprinkle the times in between the broken bones.
What I remember the most about accidents and getting hurt is not the pain. No, pain can be endured. But what always really scares me is my mother’s wrath. Every time she gets another phone call from the school to pick me up and take me to the hospital, every time she sees me hurt, she breaks out into uncontrollable anger and yelling. She would recount all the ways I should have avoided the accident, and how all my previous injuries had already greatly shortened her life span. The logic never made sense to me–I get hurt and she gets mad.
It never made sense to me, until now.
While I was in the shower tonight enjoying a quiet moment to myself, I heard Joshua break out in a loud cry in the living room. It sounded like he was in pain. After I came out of the shower, I went investigating. It turned out that Joshua had done a face-plant onto the corner of a hard plastic block and scraped his chin.
Guess who was supposed to be watching him? Hint: Not me!
It’s a small scrape. It’s really not a big deal. I’ve had hundreds of those scrapes in my life. It’s not ever deep enough to leave a scar. But oh boy, it felt like someone evil had been plotting to inflict this injury on my son all day, and carried out the horrible act while I wasn’t watching. The small scrape turned into an exaggerated act of conspiracy in my mind. After all, nothing like this is ever supposed to happen to my baby.
It all became clear to me at that moment why my mother always gets so upset when I get hurt. I think it hurts her to see me hurt. When she gets a phone call from school to pick up her injured daughter, she probably spent the whole drive over wondering what happened to me and worrying if I have lost a limp or been disfigured. So when she finally gets to me, she lets out all the worrying by demanding I never get hurt again.
I get it now, Mom.
The damn block that Joshua fell on. That stupid frog looks a bit too happy: