A Bloody Lesson


Really, I should have known way before Saturday that my little blogging “break” was doomed to failure. I should have known the first day I started it.

It was Monday, the first day of Sienna’s last week of school. I sent her off with a smile and then turned to my three other kids and the shambles of my housekeeping. Determined to make good on my little internet break, I turned my laptop off and put it away, and put my phone on top of it, on silent. No internet. Not on the computer, not on the phone. I would not be undone by TARDIS facebook notifications.

By about noon I was a confusing combination of bored and overwhelmed. Liam and Charlotte spent the vast majority of the morning playing pretend with me, where they were the mommy and daddy and I was the unruly toddler. I spent at least an hour in time out and endured various punishments, ranging from picking up my room (which dovetailed pretty nicely with my list of chores) to walking around the living room without touching the floor five times. At first I felt extremely guilty and pitied my poor minions, who had obviously been thoroughly ignored and over-zealously punished in the past few weeks, but as the punishments grew more ludicrous (put five Legos in your mouth and crawl to the front door and back, you naughty girl!) I just got annoyed. We played for a good hour past my annoyance threshold before I took control and made lunch.

As I sliced up cheese and morosely contemplated cleaning the bathrooms, I noticed the screen of my phone light up with an incoming phone call. It was Sienna’s school. I never get phone calls from Sienna’s school, so I snatched it up and answered it.

“Hello, Mrs. Alexander? Yes, this Donahue Academy. Sienna fell on the playground and has a deep cut on her knee. It has been bleeding quite a lot and we are afraid she will need a stitch. Could you please come get her?”

I assured the secretary that my husband would be right there, called the Ogre to let him know, and then started to put the phone down while thinking to myself, wow, that was lucky timing.

Then I noticed my call history.

I had four missed calls from the school. Four. Starting one hour before the call I had just answered. I had two new voicemails, which I immediately listened to. The first was basically the same message, but the secretary sounded much more concerned and there were many mentions of just how much blood was coming out of her knee. The second message was the same, but included the information that they didn’t have a number on record for the Ogre, only mine.

My horrified imagination immediately constructed a scene in which Sienna’s leg, split totally in half by a malicious bit of broken concrete and only connected by a flimsy bit of ligament, spurted fountains of blood all over the office, splattering the secretary as she frantically tried to reach the poor child’s parents. (My imagination is brought to you by Quentin Tarantino.) I imagined my poor, oldest daughter, her terrified face growing paler behind her new glasses, the blood draining from her lovely cheeks and shooting out her severed artery(ies?) (how many arteries are in a knee?), her eyes fixed desperately on the secretary trying to reach her mother, her whole being focused only on wanting the comfort of her mother’s arms before she died dramatically of blood loss. I imagined that happening for an entire hour, and  I probably aged twenty years in those ten minutes of imaginary torture.

When I heard her father’s keys in the door I rushed to the door and yanked it open, arms out to receive my daughter’s broken, battered, lifeless body. But said daughter hobbled energetically past me, saying, “I’m fine, Mom! They just made me come home cause I bled all over my shoes and they wanted my knee covered with a bandage so I wouldn’t bleed on anything else.”

And she was fine. The cut was deep but not bad enough for a stitch, her tennis shoes were pretty gruesome (and awesome, I must admit), and she didn’t seem phased by the hour wait except that the secretary wouldn’t believe her when she perfectly recited the Ogre’s phone number seven times.

Nevertheless, I learned my lesson about turning my phone off while all my children are not within eyesight. Quoth the raven, ‘nevermore’.





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