"Mooooom!" my daughter yelled to me from the back yard yesterday. "You need to come out here!"
I stepped out on the deck. "Josh wrapped the swings around the swing set AGAIN!" she said emphatically. "Can you fix it?" I folded my arms and stared at Josh who looked at me in his 11-year-old sheepish way.
"Sorry Mom," he said.
I sighed, walked over to the swing set, and stared up at the swing. I jumped while stretching my arm up to snag the swing. I threw the swing up and over the top bar and suddenly everything was in slow motion. The swing flew up, seemed to hang in mid-air for a split second, and then headed straight for my face. I couldn’t move. I was frozen in time. WHAM! The swing struck my lip and I bent over, screaming in pain.
I found myself re-enacting the Marsha Brady scene when she was hit in the face by a football and yelped, "Oh my nose!" a million times. I just changed the script a bit to suit my fancy as I screamed, "Oh my freakin’ lip!" while my children huddled over me saying a million more times, "Are you okay, Mom? And don’t say freakin!"
I ran into the house, grabbed some ice, and like any vain middle-aged woman jetted straight for the mirror. I screamed again. I looked like Meg Ryan or Melanie Griffith whose plastic surgeon had suddenly been called to an actual emergency surgery (liposuction on a major movie star’s thighs) before finishing injecting the bottom lip with silicone or saline or whatever they use these days to give women unusually large lips. Needless to say, my top lip was as big as the state of Maine. It wasn’t pretty.
It was just another injury in the life of a mother. Over the years, I’ve been accidentally hit in the head with golf clubs, smacked in the groin with basketballs, and slipped and fallen on the kitchen floor as a result of spilled juice, milk, and water. Once while carrying a full basket of laundry, I took an unplanned three-and-a-half triple lutz double toe-loop down the stairs into the family room where I ended up in a heap at the bottom of the stairs (but only after I finished with a beautiful cartwheel into the splits – which, by the way, I didn’t even know I could accomplish).
Then, there was the time I was carrying my son in an infant car seat into the babysitter’s house when I encountered a deadly patch of black ice. I still don’t know how I managed to gracefully toss the car seat down the driveway as if I was bowling for a strike before I landed on all fours and crawled to the front door. All that without ice skates and a pretty costume.
Mothers need workmen’s compensation insurance. This is one injury-prone job because we’ll do anything to save our children from being hurt. We’ll throw our bodies in front of our child if a baseball is heading for his head and we’ll jump in front of a runaway bicycle to stop it before our child runs into a tree.
Today is Mother’s Day. We all know that at times, it can be the most difficult, lowest paying job we’ll ever do. But we also know when our children share their handmade cards illustrated with beautiful hearts and flowers that say, "You are the best Mom ever," we know it’s the most rewarding job we’ll ever have.
I’m still considering investing in some body armor. It’s just a precaution.