There are those moments in parenting that bring you right to the edge of heart failure. I had one of those the other night.
First, a little setup. Liz and I have been working, with the help of one of our neighbors, to restore an old John Deere manure spreader for use on our farm. This machine is a bit of a beast and is currently parked in our garage where it’ll be out of the winter weather. The spreader has a relatively long tongue which, due to an unfortunate positioning of lighting in our garage, sits mostly in shadow after the sun goes down. All of us in this household have forgotten about it at least once and barked our shins on the confounded thing. The spreader also sits in the garage between where we park the car and the door to the walkway to the house.
The daughter and I had just returned from running some errands. I had a bag of goods in one hand and was pulling the little girl out of her car seat with the other. This, of course, would be one of those time where I forgot about the spreader. I stood up and turned to go into the house — and banged my shin, hard, on that piece of steel. Front-loaded as I was with a 25-lb toddler, I completely lost my balance. Any other time I would have just done the face-plant into the concrete and accepted the damages — y’know, because that’s how I roll. Instead, I performed a gorgeous careening stumble where you end up doing one of those awkward runs, trying to move your feet forward faster than your body in order to stop the inevitable and embarrassing collapse on the ground. If my arms had been free, they would have been windmilling like some large, flightless bird in an attempt to change my center of gravity. As it was, all I could think was Don’t fall on the baby. Don’t fall on the baby. I think I might still have ended up on my face but for the wall ten steps ahead of me, the one with the door to our kitchen. That, mercifully, brought me up short, but then I looked down to realize that foot, shod with a new steel toe boot, was now firmly planted in the outer kitchen door. Oops. Fortunately, that was this story’s only casualty. Meanwhile, I’m trying to get my heart rate under control while nursing a bruised shin (with a sizable goose egg). I look at my daughter to make sure she’s alright — and she starts giggling and bouncing, her way of saying, “Daddy, let’s do it again!”
Yup, that’s my little adrenaline junkie.