Happy New Year! It’s been a minute since I’ve posted hasn’t it? The last three months of 2015 were chock a block, but let’s just jump right back in like nothing happened…
“We’re going to leave the playground in five minutes,” I tell G as he makes his way down the slide.
It’s the last day of what they call Four Year Old Kinder in Melbourne. We’ve already moved to Perth and G has had his own official last day, but as luck and kindness would have it, M had to be back in Melbs for a week for Aladdin and we got to tag along. His work week coincided with the last days of school for all the children and the Kindergarten was kind enough to let him attend these last two days of the Australian school year.
When I dropped him off yesterday, all the children had been lined up at the door of their cottage to go to music class when G rolled up on his scooter. The teacher opened the door and said, “Look children! I told you there was going to be a surprise today. G is back!”
The children squealed and ran out the door to surround G like a group of puppies after a shiny new toy. Hugs were given. Questions were asked. I heard one of them say, “I love you G!”
And today was, by all accounts, exceptional. Christmas is around the corner. Not only is excitement in the air, but a holiday party, treats and presents happened as well. The after school playground is charged with adrenaline and sugar and like a flan in a cupboard, it’s about to collapse.* We’ve been here for over an hour since the 3 o’clock bell rang. I turn to a friend with an eight month old baby on the verge and say to her, “You know what V? I agree. I’m hungry and cranky too. Let’s get out of here.”
As I stand to gather things, I see G step onto the balance beam. You know the one…it hovers about five and a half feet from the ground.
I see leaves from a tree branch wave in front of him.
I see the branch is held by his friend M, who stands just beneath the beam.
Then it all goes slow motion.
“Stop it, M!” I hear G say.
His foot slips.
My body hurls forward and up into the air.
He’s on the ground.
He lets out the cry that signals the inner-mama grizzly bear to lift cars and bend steel.
I’m on the ground.
He’s in my arms.
I do not don the uniform of the NY Giant who’s just fumbled the ball that cost his team the game, but G still sports his scooter riding helmet. I usually take it off before he goes onto the playground. In today’s excitement, I forgot.
“Owey Owey Owey!” he cries as instinct tells me he’s OK.
You want the crying, don’t you?
Silver Lining #1-his GodSister’s hand-me-down helmet has saved the day. No head/neck/teeth/face injury.
But his arm…oh sh%*…that does not look right. Through hugs and strokes of encouragement his tears do not subside.
“We’ll just go right to the doctor and it will be ok,” I say on a continuous loop as I rock him back and forth in my arms.
The little boy M, with the branch of leaves from hell, suddenly comes into frame. Has he been sitting here all this time? His pretty blue eyes are widened in fear and regret.
“I’m sorry G,” he says with utmost sincerity.
“It’s not OK!” G hurls out through tears. I have an urge to laugh. G’s right, it’s not ok. I’m proud of him for saying so, but I’m proud of M for apologizing as well. Appropriate responses from five year olds…Silver Lining #2.
I lift G up like he’s a baby and remember he is actually five as I almost topple over face first back into the mulch. A tall, dark haired mum slices through my fishbowl vision.
“I have all your things,” she says, “follow me. I’ll drive you to the hospital.”
And like Barack Obama following a white stallion into a moonlit rose garden, I scoop G up and follow this mum wherever she will lead me.
She has three children of her own: a baby who needs to be fed; a toddler who needs to be picked up from day care and a five year old, C. He’s one of G’s mates from school. He walks with us, very concerned.
G is inconsolable, with good reason, as I carry him across the street. I do my best to soothe him when from the outside in, my vision starts to go. I’m going to faint. Are you kidding me? I fiercely resist the urge. Along the sidewalk are a string of cafe tables and I involuntarily whisper to G, “Mama has to stop for just a second.”
I place him on one of the tables and sit in its accompanying chair. I put my head between my legs and make sure my arm touches his leg. I want to be sure he’s there, but I don’t want to hold him in case I pass out.
I heard a live broadcast of Radio Lab recently where they amplified a woman’s heartbeat over a microphone. A small percentage of the audience reported nausea and fainting. The curious dudes over at the Lab dug a little deeper into why in the world that would happen. The result? Inconclusive. BUT, there is a theory it’s an old school survival mechanism.
Back in the day when pillaging, etc., was a bit more common, it could be useful to be sensitive to the sight of blood and broken bones, or to sense the impending doom of a loud heartbeat. It’s the fight or flight response saying, “Hmmm, this isn’t going so well. We’ll make you faint and hopefully the pillagers will just leave you for dead. That’s your best chance of surviving.” I like this theory since both my mother and I pass out at the sight of blood and always have. I’ve been known to feel queasy simply discussing iron levels. So maybe we’re not just big babies, but late bloomers.
Right now, however, as a mother who wants to protect her son, not herself, the response feels about as useless as the four wisdom teeth I still have.
I glance up to be sure G is still there when my dark haired friend realizes I’m not behind her and circles back. She takes her baby out of the pram, and puts G in it. Her son, C, makes sure he’s all buckled in so he won’t fall out. While they wait for my light headedness to subside, she arranges for her mum to pick up her toddler. The spell passes and I take my place behind the pram in the march to her car. So what is that? Silver Linings #3-7?
G’s tears still flow. He sputters out, “This is a terrible end to my really good day.”
C is the last one to settle into the car. He’s been in the house on a toy hunt. He hands a very hard, pointy dinosaur to his eight month old sister and an inflatable baby roller to G. It has a ball inside he can try to get into a hole. It’s a baby toy, but the tears cease as his focus rests on getting the ball into the hole. It keeps him entertained the entire ride. We arrive at the hospital, gather our things, give hugs and thanks, and C says to me proudly, “I think that toy calmed him down.”
“Oh, it did C,” I say, “that was very kind. Thank you. ”
Silver Lining #8
To be continued…