I fell on the stairs tonight. More specifically, I fell up the stairs.
You see, I was carrying up my laundry, for which I had no basket. There were bunches of socks in the pile, and I had strategically hugged myself to the pile, in order to keep the many socks from falling to the ground. Unfortunately, as I was stepping up to the top of the stairwell, I found myself suddenly stemmed to the ground with a loud s-smack!
I knew that I was on the ground and that I had somehow tripped, but had almost no brain capacity beyond knowing that. I realized that I was about to cry terribly, and wanted my mom got help, in case I were injured. I managed to call my mom with a very calm voice before I broke into an almost hysterical blurriness of tears.
For some reason, I was filled with a warm feeling of something truly special and loving at my mom’s response. She was on the phone with family, and I heard her say, “Let me call you back in just a few minutes,” immediately after I called her. There was little panic in my voice, but she had heard the splat.
When she arrived, I was crying on the cat-pee-infused floor, – she ripped up the carpet a while back, but still hasn’t gotten the particle board part replaced – on top of my laundry, half-sprawled on my forearms and knee, with my left leg lifted slightly in the air. She asked me what had happened, but I couldn’t speak at first, and couldn’t move almost at all for the pain. She said that she didn’t know how to help me until I could at least show her where I was hurt. After a good set of seconds, I finally forced myself to sit in my right side, and pull my left leg around for her to see in the narrow landing of the top of the stairs.
She instantly could tell that my knee was swelling already. I finally could speak a little, and pointed out that my toe was bleeding. It was slow to begin, but then blood just seemed to be pouring out of it. By the time I was able to stand myself up, and attempt walking, – it hurt – my sandal was getting covered in bright red.
Half an hour later, I am lying here on my bed, occasionally shivering/shuddering in pain as another throb goes through my toe. The ice is helpful, but the weight of it seems to make things hurt more (as is so often the case with an ice pack). I’ve already felt around, and, though it was painful, it seemed like my toe is all in one piece. But that is not so much the point of my sharing this – that I had a big fall, but I am okay.
You see, it reminded me of this other occasion, when I had a similarly odd experience, and it was here, too, at my mom’s house.
Several years ago, – I think it was in high school – my mom had made some soup for dinner. The soup was ready in a pot on the stovetop, and she had told me to go serve myself. I grabbed one of the black ceramic bowls we use, and ladled some soup into it. The next instant, there was soup and shattered ceramic all over the place around me. It covered the floor. I was still holding the ladle, I think, even, but the bowl was gone, in pieces on the floor.
I was paralyzed with shock and fright. I couldn’t immediately comprehend how things had happened, but I knew that the bowl I had been holding was now all over the floor, and that it was dangerous to move. I likely was barefoot or in sandals, making it that much more dangerous to move. I couldn’t comprehend the full situation, and that was an additional scary factor to the shattered ceramic around me.
I began to cry. My mom was already walking over to me from the living room. She told me that it was okay, and she held me while I cried and said that I didn’t know what had happened.
She cleaned up everything, and then brought me soup on the sofa, where I had settled physically to help me settle emotionally. And she wasn’t even the slightest bit upset or annoyed at any of it. She was just there for me, and she took care of me. She loved and cared for me, with no contingencies. I felt like a five-year-old in what I had done and how I had responded, and was initially almost ashamed that I was actually around 17. But my mom didn’t seem even to consider that. Age wasn’t on her mind, even. I needed help, and she gave it. I needed love and care, and she provided. And without hesitation.
Tonight was the same. Usually, her phone calls are not cut short, but she tells the person to ‘hang on just a second’ or just whispers a, ‘What?(!)’ to me as she holds the receiver away from her face a bit. In tonight’s situation, even though it turned out to be my grandma on the phone, my mom instantly responded to my need, ending the phone call immediately – she didn’t even wait for my grandma to finish what she was in the middle of saying at the time -, and coming to help me. Again, I had made what felt like a childish error, and again did she seem not to care less about that fact. I was in need, and she took care of me, without hesitation.
That experience of love is one of the most beautiful ones I have ever known. Talk about being ashamed or at one’s worst, and being loved anyway…