Creating a Story

Working in fourth grade and developing a story with a climax allowed me to bring back a memory from many years ago. I share my story as a slice today.

The Splinter

I’d been looking forward to this day for several years. Our family was flying out to meet other family members in Colorado for a mini-skiing vacation. The car was pack with skis, ski boots, ski bibs, warm gloves, and plenty of sweaters. We were leaving an hour before school was out, so everything had to be ready and in place for a quick escape to make it to the airport on time. Even though I was excited and feeling impatient to get going, I still had to get through the day of teaching. I was teaching a math lesson in my fourth grade class one cold day in January.

We were busy studying and practicing multiplication facts. I looked up when the door opened. Many thoughts and questions flew through my mind when I saw who was standing at my door. I wonder what she needs? Does someone have medicine to take? I soon found out what the school nurse needed when she whispered to me, “David is in my office with a splinter in his stomach. I think you need to see this.”

“A splinter? Why don’t you just pull it out?” I said to her. Thinking to myself, What’s the big deal?

“I think you’d better see this first. It’s not that simple,” she replied to me.

I gathered my class together for a restroom break, so I could see this splinter. This splinter that is not so simple. I couldn’t believe she was making such a fuss about a splinter. When I saw the splinter, which was more like a dagger of wood, my stomach dropped and I wondered how this day would go.

I was staring at a triangular chunk of wood sticking out of my son’s stomach. My heart was racing, I stopped breathing, my knees were about to give away.

“What were you doing?” I managed to get out in a whisper.

“I was sliding down the staircase on my stomach on our way to art. Everyone does it all the time,” David replied in an unconcerned voice.

“I don’t know how deep this is,” said the nurse. “So I think you need to take him to a hospital to get this taken out.”

My heart sank with those words. I wondered if our trip would be cancelled. I worried David would need surgery. Someone came to take my class for the rest of the day, while my husband, my son, and I hurried to the nearest emergency room.

As soon as we arrived at the emergency room, we explained our situation to the nurses. Fortunately they were not too busy. An x-ray revealed that the splinter was not embedded in any organs. The doctor arrived and quickly pulled the splinter out. David was bandaged up and we were on our way to the airport. Colorado here we come!

When I got up that morning, I thought the excitement of the day would be once we were on our trip. I’ve learned that sometimes your day doesn’t turn out like you thought it would.