~ For Suzanne ~
There are some family accidents that you never forget.
When Jem was a baby, just two months old, we were living in Natick, Massachusetts. Our starter home was a little Cape Cod—emphasis on the word “little”—but it was home and we loved it.
I was such a young mom back then.
One day Jem was exceedingly fussy. Nothing I did seemed to comfort him and his nonstop crying left my nerves raw. I placed him on his tummy in the middle of my bed—he wasn’t crawling yet—to cry it out and give my nerves a break.
The next thing I knew, there was a horrible thud. In his tight-fisted little fury, Jem had managed to inch his way to the edge of the bed…and fell off, headfirst, onto the hard wood floor.
It was awful.
My parents were visiting at the time, and my father—a former WWII Marine who saw substantial combat in the Pacific Theater—broke down and cried. It didn’t take long for me to calm Jem down but we were all very shaken.
The next day I noticed an enormous goose egg on the side of his head. I felt it gingerly and blanched—it was squishy and soft to the touch.
That, too, was an awful moment.
I took Jem to the pediatrician, who examined it and sent me off to the ER for X-Rays. “They’re pretty resilient, these little ones,” she said. “Still, we want to be sure.”
Sure enough, he had a hairline fracture—nothing too serious, he’d heal up just fine. The best part of all about the trip to the ER was that X-Ray. Jem was not at all pleased with the process and screamed the whole time.
I’d never seen X-Rays of a screaming skull before.
It was hilarious.
This story is one that gets retold often because that’s what a family does after a scare like that—it’s how we cope. I will usually tease Jem by adding that this fall of his “explains everything.”
He scowls but enjoys the attention.