I watched quietly as my arterial blood centrifuged in the blender, having just exited my body through the tip of my left middle finger, wandering what the dying thought of Robespierre, inventor of the guillotine, might have been in the googasecond before the blade descended upon his own neck.

I also (in a dull flash) realised that a future life of fighting and battling Evil could be too painful for me, given that it was currently just fragments of my favourite finger now swirling around with chunks of chopped apple, and also we might have to toss out the pie.

My Mom, after the fact, as I held my throbbing, stitched-up finger mummified in gauze: I just wish it could have been me instead.

Me, at seven, agreeing completely.

In between sobs: I forgive you, Mom.

She squeezed me tight: It was my fault. I should have been right there with you while you were chopping apples.

I just wanted to help you make pie! I choked between hacking coughs as the pain refused to numb. Why did you let me help? Why did you let me do something dangerous?

I'm so sorry Joey, she said again quietly. Were you pushing the apples down into the chute using the safety attachment like I showed you?

Of course I was! I screamed respectfully. I know you told me to use the safety attachment, but you only told me five times…WHY DIDN'T YOU REMIND ME AGAIN! This didn't have to happen! Why did you let it happen, Mom, why did you let me help you when you knew that if I didn't listen to you then I could get injured badly?"

I'm so sorry, she said over and over, and kept holding me tight, probably to lessen her own guilt.

I was thinking today that it would make a great little film, with seven-year old Me as the protagonist and the villain being…well, it's obvious. There's a great scene of redemption at the end, when she begs forgiveness over and over, and I finally grant it. I don't know who would play me, but if Martin Short has any grandkids than I think one of them could be perfect, regardless of gender. And I think Kate Beckinsale would play my Mom at 30, because she has a good amount of fierceness, scowling, and a little kindness that comes out here and there.

And then I was thinking about one of my guilty pleasures, Kate's 2001 rom-com with John Cusack, Serendipity, which is a lovely story, although filled with questionable relational advice, and I remembered the wonderful ice skating scenes in Central Park, and how effectively they used St. Germaine's stunning, acid-y jazz electronic track Rose Rouge,

I want you to get together /
put your hands together one time

(over and over and over and over)

I am really glad my Mom wasn't playing that song on the way to the hospital, because then my enjoyment of the Greatest Song Ever would be associated with a horrific event, instead of being tied into a beautiful fairy tale romance of strangers falling in love during a New York City winter.

So I guess a couple things I learned:

1) don't invent things that could someday be turned on you,2) milk an injury for all you can,3) try to forgive people, even when they don't prevent you from hurting yourself, and4) even though my Mom didn't protect me, or effectively teach me how to obey one-hundred percent of the time, we made it through those failures and are friends, and now, I am the parent who is teaching my own young children how to bake…and this time I will do it the right way, and make sure that no one ever, EVER gets hurt on my watch, thus blaming me for unsafe parenting.
5) if something really bad starts to happen, then make sure you're not listening to something you like a lot, otherwise your memory of that song could forever be tarnished. It's true. No more Bryan Adams for me, but that's another story.

My scarred finger is beginning to throb, which it does when the weather gets very cold, which reminds me that the roof could be getting icy, so it's probably not safe for the kids to be building forts up there anymore as it approaches nightfall. See? Effective parenting is about pre-emptive safety measures. Good-bye.

St. Germaine
Rose Rouge

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