There's this story that everyone in my family loves to remind me of. It involves my niece, who we'll call Taylor (because that's her name).
The summer that I was 17 and Taylor was three, I went to San Diego to live with her family and take care of her. My SIL, Sara, was interning with an accounting firm and my brother was working.
One weekend my older brother, Jerry, and I went mountain biking. Well, Jerry mountain biked and I spent the day alternating between whining and falling off my bike.
When we got back to their apartment, we took the bikes upstairs and parked them against a book shelf in the living room. Why we didn't walk them eight feet farther to park them on the balcony I don't know.
That was Saturday.
Monday afternoon, Taylor and I were watching a Disney movie when she decided to walk over to the book shelf and check out those bikes that had been sitting there for a couple days. I wasn't paying close enough attention because a second later I looked over to see her pulling one of the bikes down on her head.
Now, I should mention that Taylor has never been what I would call a hardy child. She was born at 30 weeks and has always been petite. Healthy and happy, but a little on the skinny, delicate side. That summer she was barely into her size 2T clothes.
Upon seeing my tiny charge trapped under the bike I sprinted across the room and pulled the bike off of her only to see blood spouting from the top of her head. BLOOD. From her HEAD.
I had been to Girls Camp enough times and sat through enough First Aid lessons to know that, a.) head wounds bleed like crazy, and b.) you need to apply pressure to any cut and it will staunch, or at least slow, the bleeding.
Did either of these things come to my mind in the middle of the crisis?
You know what DID come to my mind?
"DIAL 911! SHE'S PROBABLY DYING! YOUR BROTHER IS GOING TO KILL YOU! DIAL 91 FREAKING 1!"
So I did.
And then Taylor and I sat calmly (okay, Tay was calm, I was hyperventilating) watching the rest of the Disney movie while we waited for them to arrive. I didn't really notice that Taylor's head had stopped bleeding. And it never occurred to me to try to look at the cut and gauge it's seriousness. I figured the 911 Professional People would take care of that.
Side note: Did you know that when you dial 911 people assume there's an actual, real live emergency taking place? They send police cars, an ambulance and a fire truck. And, like, 20 people. It's spectacular.
And you know what? The 911 People? Turns out they weren't so impressed with my ability to correctly assess life threatening situations.
They all took turns examining Taylor's scalp very closely to see if they could find the cut. Eventually they located it (at the epicenter of the bloody mess of hair). It was maybe a half inch in length and had already stopped bleeding.
So everyone left.
And that's when the phone rang and it was Sara on the other end of the line. I can't remember why she called. Sometimes, in the afternoon she would call to have me start dinner, or get something out to thaw. But in any case I figured I'd better tell her about how I almost broke her kid but don't worry because I took care of it. The 911 People promised she was good as new. Just needed a bath.
Sara's reaction doesn't really need to be addressed on this blog. Let's just say it was appropriate. And Jerry's too. And I was in the room when they received the bill for the ambulance. There's a chance they considered sticking me on a plane and shipping me off.
But, like I said, no need to go into that.