Someone could put an eye out

On May 13, 1977, when I was eight years old, I stuck a pair of scissors into my left eye.

OK, it wasn’t as simple as that. According to Mom’s little blue book

“Papa [I know, funny name for a kid, but prescient, huh?] scratched his left eye w/kitchen shears–He was cutting a folded piece of cardboard and pulling away as he cut–the scissors slipped & hit his eye white.”

Everyone done blinking and rubbing their eyes now? OK, good.

It’s for knucklehead events like this that my parents had six kids: everyone who was home escorted me across the street to our neighbor’s house, where I waited with some of them and the neighbor. Nobody was old enough to drive, so one sister rode her bike as fast as she could to the supermarket, where Mom was shopping for dinner. Another sibling–I believe that it was Brother #2, and he can correct me if I’m wrong–rode off to meet Dad, who was riding his bike home from the train station, as he did every night.

Apparently, Mom left a full cart of groceries in the middle of the aisle and ran out of the store as soon as she heard, “Papa stuck the scissors in his eye!” When Dad heard the same words, he stood up and took off so fast that he might have even gotten home before Mom. By the time they got there, I felt fine–not so many pain receptors in your eye–except the goose egg on my forehead where the scissors had also hit me, so I didn’t see the need for the hurry and the hustling.

Now that I have my own baby, I see things a little differently. When I think of the panic that must have flashed through Mom and Dad’s hearts when they heard those words, I have to stop writing and cry for a little bit. I can’t imagine anything like that happening to 3B–or, to be more accurate, 3B doing something like that to himself. And I’ve wondered to myself how I would respond if something similar ever happened. So when I was standing on the pedals all the way home tonight–uphill, downhill, sliding around turns so low that my knee almost hit the pavement, heart pounding, lungs clenching, and legs burning–I was wondering if that’s how Dad felt.

Fortunately, nobody had attempted self-enucleation, but when I had called Mama to tell her that I was coming home, it went like this:

“I’m down in the gym now, changing to come home.”

“Oh, I’m so glad.”

“Why? Was it a long day?”

“I know you can’t help it, but I just wish that you were home right now.”

And that hurt more than a scissor blade in my eye.

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  • My Uncle Bill once had an axe blade in his head. Since he’s deceased, and my dad is the youngest child and was too young to remember, that is all I know. But I do know that my Grandpop was with him when he did it- and if there’s something worse than getting a call like, hey, sonny has an axe blade in his head, it might be watching it happen.

    That’s me, Papa B, spreading sunshine and happiness everywhere I go!

  • Oh I had days like that, once or twice even calling Anthropapa at work to come home early. Some days babies are so frustrating!

    A small (some days, not so small) part of my psyche is always worrying over these potentialities: will the kids fall into the icy brook? Will they run into traffic? Will one of them impale themselves on a gardening fork? Where will the next goose egg come from? It’s nerve-wracking to say the least, and the worst part is thinking, Will it be my fault because I wasn’t hyper-vigilant?