I found myself in the air for a moment yesterday.  For a split second, I thought, “This is a joke.  My husband is going to think that I’ve killed myself.”  Then, my lower back hit the wooden step that I had missed, and I slid roughly down the stairs to the cement floor of our unfinished basement below with the laundry that I was carrying sprawled out around me.  It wasn’t a joke, but husband did think that I’d killed myself.

Crying, I flung myself forward to my hands and my knees.  I said a few choice words through gritted teeth and slapped the cold floor with my hand.  Upstairs, I could hear my husband running and Bear screaming.  I was moving.  I was crawling.  I thought I could stand up.  Apparently, I hadn’t broken anything.

I walked around the corner crying but attempting to soften my face.  Bear was crying “Momma” upstairs.  She had not seen me fall, but she knew that I was hurt, and my hurt hurt her.

“I’m O.K.,” I called upstairs to Bear.  My husband was trying to reassure her.  Slowly, I made myself walk up the stairs to hug Bear.  And then, I had to walk into another room to cry some more.

My back had angry red welts where it had struck the steps and then long, red scrapes where it had hit each wooden step as I slid down the stairs to the bottom.  My elbow hurt.  My foot hurt.  The front of my leg hurt.  Of course, my back hurt.  I briefly contemplated going to the emergency room, worried that I had cracked or displaced something, but it was Bear’s bedtime, and I could move and walk.  So, I comforted Bear.  I held her in my arms, kissed her warm cheek, and told her that I was O.K.

Bear seemed to accept my lie.  She happily settled with me on the couch – a bag of ice between my back and cushion – and we read book after book until she went to bed.