My feet slipped out from under me. Big houses are drafty and expensive to heat, so to keep our extremities warm, we covered them. Socks and plush carpeted stairs created a danger I hadn’t anticipated. I heard somewhere it was best to go with the fall, not reach to grab onto anything because a person could break an arm or a leg that way. Instead, my tailbone slammed onto each stair, hammering home the choices that led us to this house.
I landed in a heap on the tiled floor below, my robe twisted up around my waist. I lay for a few minutes resting my head on the bottom step, crying quietly so I wouldn’t wake my husband and kids. The funny thing about crying is once you start, you seem to find lots of reasons to keep on crying. Number one on my list was convincing my husband we had outgrown our three-bedroom home in Green Mountain where I didn’t have to worry about going down the stairs to turn the heat up in the morning.
In the new house, the boys each slept in their very own beds in their very own rooms and they chose their very own bedtime story when I tucked them in. No more listening to the baby stories for Nicholas. He chose a chapter of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. Adam liked the history of The Magic Tree House and Tate never got tired of Wheels on the Bus. I hid in the bedtime stories, forgetting what separate bedrooms for the boys were going to cost my husband and me.
In the new house I had my very own room far from the rambunctious bedrooms. I put fragile knickknacks in the living room high enough up so that the boys couldn’t smash them on the coffee table. I lit candles without fear of the boys getting burned. I turned up the music just loud enough to escape the noise of three young children. I was surrounded by candle light and pretty things. But what would these moments of peace cost?
In the new house my husband had a two-car garage. He had room to build that 1970 Chevelle. It wouldn’t be the one he had to sell when he was nineteen, but it would be close. This one would be red, his favorite color, not blue. He’d get an air compressor with air tools and he’d have it running in no time. Time wasn’t the problem.
When my husband found me crumpled on the floor he scooped me up and drove me to the hospital. I cried on the way, not only because every bump sent shooting pain straight up my spine where it then spread to every nerve ending in my butt and lower back, but also because when the lender slid the closing papers across the oak desk and said, “Your payment is going to be a bit higher than the quote” I knew we were making a mistake. I cried when they said I would have to lie on my back on the cold, flat x-ray table and press my tailbone down so they could get a picture and remembered my husband saying, “Well, we’ll just have to skimp on the groceries.” I cried when they said it wasn’t broken, only bruised, and how Adam said on our first night in the big house, “Mommy, I want to go home.”
Did you know your tailbone is used in every single move you make and once it is injured, it doesn’t ever heal completely? Not completely.