On a warm Saturday afternoon in late September, my sister and I and some friends were riding bikes over the wooden jump on the sidewalk in front of our house while the parents sat inside talking about things that children find boring.
I was a confident 10-year-old with a bit of an ego and a need to be the center of attention. I’m not 10 anymore, but the rest of that sentence is still true.
I don’t know how many times I went over that jump, but it was enough that I could do it without thinking about it. This time I went to the end of my street, and I started peddling as fast as I could toward the jump. As I rode down the sidewalk, my sister and friends walked behind the jump, but one of the boys stopped. Instead of stopping myself, I yelled at him, “Get out of the way!”
I have a blank spot in my memory, but according to my sister, I went over the jump, and my right handlebar clipped the boy’s eye, which twisted my wheel. When the front tire came down, I was flung over the handlebars. Fortunately, my face was there to break my fall. The concrete punctured my lip, chipping my two front teeth; then the rest of my body landed, scraping both my elbows, my knees, and my left knuckles. The heavy mountain bike landed on me, giving me multiple bruises on my back.
I finally managed to open my eyes—after what felt like four minutes, but was probably closer to four seconds. Then I could taste the metallic tang of blood in my mouth. I tried to get up, but the bike was too heavy for me to lift, so I had to squeeze my way out from under it. I ran inside screaming and crying in pain.
Blood and Bandages
When my mom, a nurse, saw me in the doorway wearing my blue shirt that had turned red from the blood, she absolutely, and might I add, justifiably, freaked out. She ran over and hugged me because she’s my mom, and it’s her job to care about her children to an unhealthy degree. My dad ran to the nearest bathroom cupboard to grab the box of Band-Aids.
“He’s going to be fine,” My dad said calmly to my mom.
“Fine!? This is life-altering, Alan!” She shouted back at him, hugging me and putting a napkin to my lip to stop the bleeding with no regard for her fancy church clothes.
After bandaging me up, my mom rushed me to the emergency room. The doctor put eight stitches on my lip. A procedure that included local anesthesia was the part of this experience that caused the most pain.
The next few school days after my accident felt embarrassing. I had a lip I couldn’t close because it was swollen, exposing my broken teeth. All of my classmates wanted to know the story, and for once, I didn’t want to be the center of attention. Luckily, the pain and physical ramifications were short-lived. After a few days, my teeth were repaired. About a week later, my mom was able to cut my stitches out.
Do You Want It Fixed?
A few months went by, and my mother took me to see a plastic surgeon. After she talked to him for a few minutes, he turned to me and asked, “Does it hurt?”
“No,” I replied.
“Do you want it fixed?” he asked.
After having local anesthesia injected into my lip, I was not willing to deal with the pain again to fix something that didn’t bother me, so I replied, “No.”
He then turned back to my mom, who looked flabbergasted, and said, “Well, there you have it.”
My mom tried to protest, but he said to her, “I understand. Every mother wants their child to be perfect.”
Who Will We Run To?
My mother accepted this outcome, even though it was not what she wanted. When something potentially life-altering happens to us, a situation demands we lean on other people no matter our age. Who will we run to? How will they respond? I am happy to have people like my mom in my life that I can turn to when I am scared or in pain.
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Caleb Trautwein writes from the Pacific Northwest.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.