When my daughter was born, my then husband would hold her in one arm like a football. All swaddled in her pretty pink blanket and coordinating hat, I would envision him, a lifelong football fanatic, running with the baby across a football field and chuckle to myself.
It therefore seemed only fitting that my daughter never crawled. She rolled, like a ball, from one end of a room to the other. And quickly! Looking back, it really should’ve come as no surprise that one afternoon while changing her diaper she accidentally rolled right off the changing table and onto the floor.
The problem was she chose to do this during my husband’s prized fantasy football draft. And when I screamed for help, he ignored me.
“Call an ambulance!” I yelled from the nursery.
“I’m on the phone right now. Call from your cell phone, please,” he seethed more politely than I expected.
I assumed by his almost singsong tone that he must have been on a conference call for work. Still, in my mind at least, this qualified as an emergency and I assumed any client worth his salt would understand and forgive the interruption.
Besides, who knew where my cell phone was anyway, and I wasn’t about to start searching for it. Though my daughter appeared fine, I, on the other hand, was visibly distraught and growing increasingly hysterical by the second. A new mother, I was, like so many other new mothers, completely overbearing and neurotic when it came to my baby. That my child had fallen while under my care, well, that was tantamount to failing as a parent and as a human being.
“Call an ambulance!” I shouted again, envisioning my daughter bleeding internally or suffering from a concussion. Or worse – both.
No response from downstairs. And then I remembered. My husband wasn’t on a work call. That’s right. He had told me beforehand. “Keep the house quiet,” I was duly warned. He would be involved in his annual fantasy football draft and could potentially be tied up for hours.
I ran into my bedroom a few feet away and grabbed the nearest handset from my nightstand. I hesitated for a split second, knowing full well I was about to commit a cardinal sin – interrupt my husband’s fantasy football draft. But I gave it the old WTF, and pressed talk anyway.
“The baby fell off the changing table. I need you to call an ambulance. Now,” I ordered in my most non-hysterical hysterical voice.
Even over the phone I could feel the shivers sent up the spines of the mostly ivy-league educated group of bankers, lawyers and academics on the other end, as they each likely thanked their lucky stars it was not they being humiliated by their wife in front of the guys.
“I guess you should hang up,” one of the voices sheepishly advised, probably fearing reprisal from his own wife should word ever get out of his failure to comply. And quickly the group agreed to reconvene as soon as my husband could reassert his masculinity and rejoin the call.
Moments later, two male paramedics were standing in my daughter’s room, watching her giddily play on the floor with her toys as though nothing had ever happened. Luckily, the bedroom had been carpeted and the baby didn’t even bruise.
A few feet away I sat huddled, knees to my chest, crying, shaken from the sight of seeing my infant daughter fall.
“The baby looks great,” one of the paramedics comforted my husband with a brutish pat on the back, “but I think your wife looks like she needs some help.”
Snickers filled the room.
“Yeah, I was in the middle of my fantasy football draft and had to hang up,” my husband elaborated only half-jokingly to the paramedics, suddenly his brethren.
“Oooh,” both men commiserated, wincing at the thought, perhaps envisioning the possibility of such a horrible fate befalling them one day.
Surely, there are worse things in life. Like finding out your ex-wife won a million dollars leading her own winning fantasy football team. And that’s exactly what I plan to do this week – win the $1 million fantasy football first prize.
Revenge is sweet. Won’t you join me in playing?