Last weekend, we attended the Miami Book Fair. (The photo above is of our daughter and granddaughter, en route home from the Fair.) The Fair began in 1984, and has grown in both size and stature every year since. I began taking my daughters when they were pretty young (both of them were under five); it’s one of the first places I braved with two young and highly energetic children all by myself. At the time, I was newly divorced, and re-learning how to navigate the world as a single parent.
And yes, there was the year not long after that when I left them with TWO COMPLETE STRANGERS for about 90 seconds, when I realized to my horror that I’d left my expensive camera in the ladies’ room. Yes, I did. Not one of my finer parenting moments. But we’d been talking to this lovely couple from Michigan for a couple of hours and they seemed lovely and – and – sorry, girls! And whew!
Here’s Emma at the 2018 Book Fair; we didn’t leave her with anyone from Michigan.
The Year of the Foot Incident
Luckily, nothing happened. But I’ve had many other “best of” parenting moments, several of which center around the Miami Book Fair, like the “year of the foot incident.”
A few years in, our annual pilgrimage to the Street Fair was already a firm family tradition. My daughters were probably 8 and 9 when “the foot incident” occurred. My younger daughter, Erica, was on a soccer team. The game was due to end around 1:00 pm and we were all anxious to get to the fair, a good hour away, as soon as possible after the game.
Right before halftime, a member of the opposing team went to kick the ball inadvertently (?) but kicked Erica’s foot instead. Ever the trooper, Erica iced her foot and was ready to play again at the start of the second half. She assured her coach and all of us that she was fine, and played the rest of the game.
After, I asked her if she truly felt ready to walk around the Book Fair. She insisted that she was fine (you see where this is going, right?).
We arrived at the fair, which was already in full swing, and spent quite a bit of time finding a parking space. It was now around 2:30 and the street fair ends at 6:00 pm, so I was in a bit of a hurry to get started. As we opened the car doors, I heard the voice from the backseat: “My foot really hurts.”
All I could think was, “You have GOT to be kidding.”
Of Course it Hurts Now!
What I said was, “Really? NOW it hurts? You’ll be fine. We’ll get you some Tylenol.” Our entrance to the fair was delayed by the “Great Children’s Tylenol Search of the mid-1990s”, which took another 30 minutes. I finally found some likely expired Children’s Tylenol in a local bodega (look, I said this was not one of my finer parenting moments) and proceeded to spent the rest of the day dosing her at the appropriate intervals.
Erica seemed fine. We had dinner in Miami, and arrived home without further incident around 9:00 pm. Both girls went right to bed.
Early the next morning, I heard that little voice again:
“I really think my foot’s broken. I can’t put any weight on it.”
Again: You have GOT to be kidding me.
Several Hours Later…
After several hours in the emergency room, the doctor confirmed Erica’s self-diagnosis: She had broken a bone (some bones?) in her foot. You’ll forgive the lack of detail here; 28 years of childrearing has cost me some brain cells. Here’s what I do know: She was in a cast for about six weeks, and no, the family will never let me forget it. And no, she didn’t have a “loafer” issue.
What about you? What desperate measures have you taken as a parent? Feel free to leave a comment, but if you’re worried about the statute of limitations, I understand.⧉
Enjoy this video of Emma at the 2018 Miami Book Fair, clearly feeling no pain whatsoever.