When I was 6, my brother broke my wrist.
We’ll start at the beginning, shall we? I was 6, my brother Jeremiah was 10. It was April 13 — I know the exact date because it was my other brother’s birthday. He turned 16. Jeremiah was playing with me — and another older girl my mom was looking after — at the park next to the doctor’s office where my mom was with my little sister (who was 3). My brother Jeremiah and I got in a fight about something. I’m sure he was picking on my or wiping boogers on me or putting dirt in my hair or something. So I ran away from him and threw myself on the merry-go-round.
I wasn’t holding on, of course. Because I was pouting — not looking to go for a spin. But, what’s a meanie older brother supposed to do when his cute, darling, innocent sister is lying on the merry-go-round?
Spin it. As fast as he can. Sending his cute, darling, innocent sister hurdling through the air — right onto her right wrist.
Somehow someone got me to the doctor’s office with my mom. The doctor, who was retiring that very day, wrapped my wrist in a magazine and sent us to the hospital.
While my mom was always the comforter and the one who was there for us when we were hurt or scared or sad or mad, for some reason the only person I wanted was my dad. He’d make the pain go away, right? I remember crying and screaming for my dad and now wanting the doctor to touch me until Dad was there. (Is this how it went down? I’m not certain. I mean, I was 6. And my arm was falling off. I can’t be trusted with the details.)
Only one of the bones in my wrist broke. And the bone-setting was awful. Painful. But Dad was by my side. Even better, he brought a present.
Cheer Bear! Yes, this is the very same Cheer Bear that Dad got me when I was 6, sad and broken. You know what else? Rosebud had one, too. Because, you know what? Babies always get what they want. I don’t care what anyone tells you, the baby of the family is always spoiled. And what Baby wants, Baby gets. Rosebud so loved my Cheer Bear that she wanted one of her own. I was the one with the broken bone and the stupid-looking cast that went practically to my shoulder, but 3-year-old JJ cried and whined until Dad went to the store to get her a Cheer Bear of her own. So you know what happened? We had to disfigure Cheer Bear on our first day together.
So, 24 years later and I’ve mostly forgiven my big brother for forever shattering my chances at being a bowling champion and mostly forgiven my baby sister for being a stinker and copying me. Besides, now I have this wonderful childhood keepsake that has my dad all over it. And, yes, when I’m feeling down or homesick or sad, I sometimes still snuggle with Cheer Bear.