Slamming Tiny Fingers in Car Doors

It’s a right of passage, isn’t it? Slamming your fingers in car doors when you’re a kid?

I definitely remember being in an altercation or two (or five) with my parent’s Chevy Astro and it’s giant sliding doors which I’m convinced were designed by the devil himself. I remember the terror that engulfed me each time, as those steel doors slammed shut on my tiny fingers. I remember the black and purple blisters that resulted. I remember the uncontrollable bawling. I remember my mom holding me. Rubbing the pain out of them. I remember hating that dang Chevy Astro.

A kid can only take so many finger slams before he starts taking it personally.

How my fingers survived my younger years is a mystery to me. Every kid must have door slam angels that keep the tiny bones from exploding into unfixable pieces when they get shut in the door. According to basic physiology and physics, those fingers shouldn’t be able to make it through such assaults.

And this morning Noah had his first tango with the steel devil (at least under my watch). I was sitting in the front seat already when he got to his door in the back. I looked back and watched him swing the door open. It swung back closed again, and he tried to catch it before it could.

Before it shut again… before I saw the terror in his face… before I saw the panic… before I saw the tears… before I heard the screams…

I knew.

His fingers were about to get shut in that door.

And sure enough, the door swung close. And for a split second, there was nothing but silence.

Then a gasp.

Then a shriek.

I lunged back and popped the door open as quickly as I could. Noah lurched backwards and held his hand to his face. In less than a second, he squinted his eyes and then opened them wider than I’ve ever seen them. His mouth clamped closed then opened impossibly big. He inhaled a giant breath of air. And then…

All hell broke loose.

He started jumping and dancing and writhing in pain. The howls escaping his throat were heartbreaking. Giant tears began clumsily rolling down his cheeks. He kept attempting to look at his little hands but quickly hid them out of his own sight again, not wanting to acknowledge the damage that had been done.

I was already out of the car and had scooped him up before I even knew I was doing it. He wouldn’t show me his fingers. To do so was more terrifying than the experience itself. So, I just held him and let him cry it out.

Eventually the pain subsided and we were able to assess the damage together. Sure enough, black and purple blisters were already starting to appear. Noticing this, of course, brought on round two of crying and another chance for Dad to console.

In the end, he survived it, just as I always did. His fingers weren’t broken just like mine never were. And, he’s got some gnarly battle wounds to show off just like I always had.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS. Do you have memories of slamming your fingers in car doors as a kid? Anybody else have a sliding van door out to get them when they were younger? And have your kids had it happen yet?

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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