I like to distance myself from the awful days by waiting a day or two before I think a whole lot about them.
I want to find the humor in my situations, but it’s difficult to find the humor in something while I’m still blubbering and feeling sorry for myself. And I don’t know when this is ever going to be funny, so I’ll just tell it now.
On Friday Andy had a babysitter here to help him with Jonah. He’d planned to do some chores around the house, but Jonah was whiny and challenging. At one point Andy put him in time out in his room for 5 minutes, and then went into the bathroom to brush his teeth; the sitter was sitting on the couch in the living room. Then BAM BAM BAM they hear Jonah kicking his window, and CRASH the sitter runs in first and sees he has smashed his whole bare leg through the glass bedroom window and right through the storm window too. Andy runs in and he and the sitter hold Jonah, who is hysterical now…blood and glass are everywhere.
I’m at work and the phone rings. “Amy, call 911!” the sitter yells. Before I can think to ask for details, I hear Andy in the background, shouting “Call 911! Call 911!”
I automatically slam the phone down and pick it up again and dial the dreaded 3-digit-sequence of numbers.
No, I do not know what my emergency is.
I ask my officemate to please call my sitter but I need to find her number and I forgot how, I forgot how to get this information out of my cell phone because my ear is jammed up against the office phone with the 911 dispatcher waiting for me to cough up something besides my address and my brain isn’t working
and I can’t think how to get to CONTACTS on the cell phone but then finally I press the right buttons to spit the number out and I give the number to my officemate and the sitter tells her Jonah put his leg through his window and there’s blood all over the place and I repeat this to the dispatcher
and then I snatch at my purse and other stupid stuff too like the smoothie I was drinking and my book and I turn in confused circles until, thankfully, my officemate lights a fire under me: go!
and I snap out of it and I go. See Amy go. See Amy drive fast. See Amy drive very, very fast.
I get home and there is a fire engine and an ambulance in front of my house and I park behind them and run inside. Blood and glass are indeed everywhere in Jonah’s room – on the sheets, on towels, on clothing, splattered on the wall. Jonah’s bandaged; Andy is carrying him in his arms to the gurney waiting outside. Fear is in Jonah’s eyes, and sincere confusion. Andy gets in the ambulance with him and I follow them to the hospital.
As it turned out Jonah was not very much injured, somehow, thank God. Driving to my house I’d envisioned his leg all cut to ribbons with blood transfusions required. They didn’t even give him stitches, because the major wound was a small triangular notch torn out of his leg – nothing to stitch together. So we took him home and I lay him on our bed while Andy went into Jonah’s room to clean up the glass and the blood and call someone about the window. We mostly just kept him quiet for the rest of the day until he fell asleep in our bed.
The next morning Andy was in the shower and I wanted to change the dressing on Jonah’s leg, so I told him to sit down on the chair in the living room. I started to unwrap the bandage when he attacked me, scratching at my face, hitting and kicking me. He smashed my glasses into my face, hard, then snatched them off and threw them across the room. I grabbed his arms, held tight to his flailing wrists, and called for Andy. Andy came running from the shower and together we managed to get him to our room and pin him on the bed - Jonah screaming, Andy yelling, me sobbing - the three of us re-enacting the climax of a bad Lifetime movie. After everything calmed down, we mostly kept him still and had more “quiet time” in the bed, each of us taking turns lying with Jonah while the other cleaned up or did laundry.
It was very quiet. We did not talk much, except to decide to replace all the windows in Jonah’s room with unbreakable safety glass.
What is there to say?
I’m frightened… of Jonah, for Jonah, of the future, for our sanity. We’re tired.
I’m dreading my vacation in a week. We’re weary. Who dreads their vacation?
I spent twilight yesterday in my front yard, carrying a cardboard box… listening to a neighbor party’s intermittent bursts of laughter, smelling the sweet-tangy wood-burning barbecue scents, pawing along the ground through our wood chips and impatiens, seeking shards of glass… marveling at the huge and perfect circle of missing glass in the window, an ugly hole in our house for everyone to see. We’ve shut the door to his room until we can clean it completely and the windows are all replaced. It’s almost like there’s a poltergeist in there, or we’re waiting for a priest to come and exorcise it. It feels like we’re in a dream.
Jonah has been sleeping between us at night, sucking his thumb and snuggling. “Huck?” he asks me earnestly. I just nod, pull him closer and kiss the top of his head.
What is there to say?