Charlie was so excited to ride his bike to school today for the first time in ages, since it has been cold and we have been running late on all the nice days. He was cheerful and helpful and hugged everyone goodbye twice and ran out to get his bike then sped off around the corner. He's been having trouble sitting still and focusing in school again and I knew the bike ride would be just the thing to get some of the nervous energy out before he had to sit in his chair all morning.
I knew Ryan would be coming back shortly, so I puttered around the house straightening things here and there, putting away the breakfast dishes, getting the other kids dressed, figuring I'd take a shower when Ryan was back and James could stay downstairs with him.
When he wasn't back by 7:50 I knew something was wrong. At 8:05 I was standing in the driveway in my pajamas, holding James in one hand and the phone in the other. It is possible that I was a little extra sensitive following a dream last night about losing all the kids in the Austin Convention Center during a professional conference we both had to attend.
Finally he came around the corner around 8:10. He had Charlie's backpack and helmet. My heart sank.
"Charlie fell off his bike," he told me "but he's OK. He's at school."
"WHAAAT?! What happened?! Is he OK?! Should I go pick him up right now?! Does he need me?! Why do you have his backpack?!" I responded, in a way that was perfectly in proportion to the circumstances.
Ryan told me again that he was fine. A neighbor had helped him. I pressed for more details. Woman Details. Not Man Details. Like, was he bleeding and did he cry and please just give me one reason to go up there and bring him home.
"Well, he sort of flew over the handlebars and got tangled up in the bike. His shoe fell off somehow. He had a big scratch on his elbow and he was kind of limping when I dropped him off. A nice neighbor with two girls from his school took us inside and cleaned him up and gave him a bandaid. Then she drove us all to the school in her van. I forgot all about his backpack in all the commotion."
"Should I go get him?" I asked again. Ryan assured me that he was fine and there was no reason to go up to the school and withdraw him for the day over a scraped elbow. (And possible compound-fractured ankle, I did not add) (And not to mention the way things like this seem to set him off-kilter for the rest of the day, which could undo all the careful talking we did about focusing and listening and working hard in school)
I took my shower and got everyone in the car. Ryan left for work, late, late, LATE, and I picked up Charlie's bike from the nice neighbor's house.
Then on the way to school the school nurse called. I was delighted to hear from her because I figured this was my chance to do something tangible! I could come and pick him up! Yes! Please let me take care of my baby! (Again, totally in proportion to the circumstances)
But she just wanted to let me know she'd changed his bandage because the bandaid was giving him a rash and she wanted to know if he had a latex allergy. I said "He's never reacted to bandaids before but it's been a long time because he never lets us put them on him because he says they hurt and itch. Oh. OK."
Then I asked about his ankle. Maybe it would be good if I picked him up and we watched movies together all morning? No. The ankle is fine. OK, well, thanks for calling! Give him a hug for me.
And now I am off to join him for lunch in the cafeteria and there is no greater act of love, because MAN I hate that place. After that I'm going to make some brownies for that nice neighbor.