Wild Child

I’m 33 years old.  I have a lot of memories, lessons, and stories from life.  Still, I actually don’t remember as much as many people do.  There is not a sad story behind it.  I was a bit of a daredevil as a child and had more than my share of injuries  I thought I’d share a couple of those stories.

In my backyard, when I was a kindergartener, I was playing with my friends that were the kids of someone  my mom knew.  It was a warm and sunny day.  One of the older kids put my friend and I into our red wagon and was pulling us around the perimeter of the yard, which was enclosed by a chain link fence.  Suddenly, the wagon went sideways and my friend and I were dumped out toward the fence.  When we both got up, my friend told me the top of my hair was all red.  I touched the top of my head.  It felt weird, so I looked at my hand.  It was covered in blood.  I started crying and ran inside to my mom, who put my head over the bath and poured water over my hair in an attempt to see where the blood was coming from.  I remember my mom telling me I got to sleep in her bed that night and she kept waking me up.

I was probably 7 years old for the next one.  My family was at a friend’s house that had kids.  We were spinning in an office chair in their basement while the adults socialized on the main level of the house.  We were having a blast.  Then, food was ready.  Everyone was called upstairs and we ran for the door.  My older sibling and I somehow wound up at the end of the line with me bringing up the rear.  My sibling, Jamie skipped a few steps, got to the top, and then slammed the door in my face just as I was reaching the top.  I fell backwards about halfway down the steps, then under the bannister onto the concrete floor.  The next thing I remember, I was opening my eyes to people standing around me asking if I was ok.  I was, but I was out long enough for people to come to my aid unnoticed by me.

When I was 8, I was getting really good at riding my bike up and down the hills on either side of my house.  I even learned how to coast downhill while putting my feet on the handlebars.  I was so psyched about this little stunt, I shouted out to my mom to watch me from the neighbor’s front porch.  I was coasting faster than I have ever before.  Suddenly, there was a crack in the sidewalk that made it slightly uneven.  My bike and I flew into the air and flipped over.  I landed on the ground and the bike fell on top of me.  Not only did I bang my head on the concrete, but the pedal dug into my thigh and the hand grips dragged down one of my shoulders.  In school the following week, a well meaning teacher would send me to the school nurse after noticing the bruises and cuts, who would call child services on my parents.  They received a surprise visit from a social worker who talked to me and to them, and then inspected my somewhat mangled bicycle.  Nothing ever came of it.

In my middle school years, there was a family that moved in nearby with kids around my age.  One of our favorite activities was riding our bikes.  The street was a hill on either side and we would race our bikes down one of them all of the time.  I had a yellow ten speed bike named Schwinnifred (awesome, I know).  One race, I got to the bottom of the hill and I stopped next to the part of the street where there was a drainage sewer.  One of the girls tried to warn me that she was going too fast, but it was in vain.   She slammed, full force, into the back tire of my bike.  I was slightly too short for the bike and was on my tip toes holding it steady.  The force and surprise of the collision made me fall straight into the concrete, hitting my chin first into the asphalt.  I was fortunate to miss the sewer opening, but I was dizzy and could barely see or walk.  My friends walked me to my house, where I looked at my mom, started crying, and said “sorry.”  I remember that I had to get gravel cleaned from the wound and stitches on my chin.

Last one I’ll share, I was 16 years old.  I asked my dad if I could go on a drive with my friends to a popular park nearby and he told me to come back in the next 2 hours.  We went to the park and watched the sun set and hung out.  My friend and her boyfriend were apparently sneaking out together for some reason.  We left the park to go home as it started raining.  Traffic suddenly came to a halt and my friends boyfriend, a new driver, stopped too suddenly.  The car hydroplaned and slammed into a commercial van in front of us.  I opened my eyes and there were fireman and police there.  The driver yelled at me “Jenny!  I asked if everyone is ok!”  I was confused and my whole body hurt.  A fireman opened the door to my side and looked at me and said “ew.”  I touched my face.  There was blood and everything felt weird.  I licked the inside of my mouth.  All of my teeth were there.  The fireman asked me if I could walk, then helped me out of the car to the back of an ambulance where an EMT handed us a bottle of water and some type of cloth to wipe my face with.  I called my dad and he told me to take the ambulance and he’d be at the hospital when I got there.  We sat in the waiting room with ice on my face for hours.  When all was said and done, I had a broken nose, concussion, and bruises all over.  I had lifted out of the lap belt, flown forward, and slammed my face on the back of the head rest in front of me.  The belt squeezed and bruised me on top of my thighs.  I still freak out when I think someone is going to rear end another car while I’m riding in it.

So, that was a small collection of the most memorable of my childhood injuries.  There were more.  I’ve had stitches in my mouth, sprained ankles, bruised bones, and even a road rash on my leg and butt.  Maybe another time, I’ll tell more of my daredevil tales.

Thanks for reading!  I hope you enjoyed this.  If so, please share with your friends.

Also, feel free to comment with your own tales of being a wild child.

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