Flight

Icarus  (ˈɪkərəs, ˈaɪ-)
— n

Greek myth: the son of Daedalus, with whom he escaped from Crete, flying with wings made of wax and feathers. Heedless of his father’s warning he flew too near the sun, causing the wax to melt, and fell into the Aegean and drowned

There’s a type of mother I envy: she is calm in a crisis. She knows just what to do and does so serenely.

I am not that mother.

The first scream is high-pitched, so high that I’m not sure it’s human — is it our cat? I pause upstairs and listen, John has just arrived home from school and he stops too. I take a deep breath, and will the sound to be a false alarm, but instead it is followed by another. “Sam?” I race towards the basement just as he begins to limp up the stairs, his right arm hanging at an odd angle.

“What’s wrong, baby? What happened? What happened!” I ask although it’s painfully obvious that it’s his arm.

“I fell, I fell!” he sobs. I mentally review the downstairs, the kid-friendly soft couches, the large bookcases bolted to the wall. I pray he isn’t bleeding. I sit him down and scan the rest of his body, all seems okay but the arm is already swollen. We’re going to the ER without a doubt. I grab a pillow, my phone, and tell John we have to go in the car. The sound of other children crying usually agitates him but right now he is uncharacteristically quiet and still.

We pile into the car and my heart feels like it will thump right out of my chest. Despite this surge of terror, I am somehow able to carefully strap Sam in and place the pillow under his elbow to cushion it. “How did you fall, honey?” I am close to tears. He tells me he fell off the couch. Impossible, I think. He’s been climbing that couch since he could toddle.

“How could you fall? I don’t understand.”

“I jumped off, Mom,” he cries, “I was trying to fly!”

“You were what?” I say, incredulous. “What were you trying to do?” I tell him that people cannot fly, why on earth and all that’s holy, did he think he could fly?

“I thought I could! I can fly in my dreams! And I-care-us can fly,” he says.

“‘I-care-us’?” I ask. “Who the heck is ‘I-care-us’?”

“You know, from the greek mythology,” he tells me. Ah, Icarus. Of course you’re reading greek mythology.

As we race to the ER, I explain that mythology is like fiction. And fiction is the opposite of non-fiction, which means it’s a made-up story. Never even mind that the story does not end well. Did he read the whole story?

The wait in the ER is interminable, but at last they take us back for x-rays. The techs slap up a couple of pictures and say nothing — that’s the doctor’s job — but even my untrained eye can see the break at his elbow. He’s a trooper, but scared and worried and starting to fret about all the possible scenarios. I figure there’s a cast in his future.

As it turns out, the break is severe enough to require surgery and pins to help set the elbow. And because he is so young he must be transported to Children’s for a pediatric specialist and an overnight stay. This after I’ve assured Sam that no way, no how will he need surgery again, a cast probably, but not surgery.

Silly, stupid mommy.

This is just one of the reasons I blogged not at all during the month of May.

Here is another:

To be continued…

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