In my defense, my son should have listened to me and if he had, he would not have found himself flying through the air with the greatest of ease and landing with not that.
The story takes us back several years when he was three years old and a crazed honey badger with no ears and a taste for speed. Come to think of it, ten years have gone by and the ears still haven’t developed.
In our house, we live in a realm we like to call Laundry Land. It’s a virtual Eden for someone who enjoys piles of clothing on the couch that have been washed and await the traditional folding ceremony and piles of clothing on the floor awaiting a toss into Mount Washing Machine, left for sacrifice by the native thirteen and four year olds who inhabit our land. This poses a problem if one is trying to get it all sorted out and the natives are restless, romping to and fro like little pygmy banshee warrior pygmies, bent on reaching decibel levels previously unrealized.
Ten years ago, a tsunami of trouble swept over our land. As I stated, I had warned our pygmy not to dart in front of the laundry god when he is walking through holding a basket heaped too high to see over on his way to Mount Washing Machine. It seems the pygmy didn’t hear the warning, nor heed it. At around 10 pm, as I made the trek with the heaped pile of clothing, at a pretty fast clip, mind you, because it was too late to be doing laundry and I was sleepy, the pygmy darted, caught my knee as it was going forward, and became suddenly airborne.
In my parental mind, it was a slow and horrifying event. My three year old son was on a course for disaster, right toward a crash landing on the hard wooden glider, and I could do nothing about it. All kinds of stuff flashed before my eyes in the second that lapsed between free flight and collision.
I saw the day he was born. I held my bride’s hand, but dared to look over the top of the blinder they had set up to see the delivery doctor’s arm stuffed into a slit in Kayla’s belly, all the way up to her elbow.
I saw the day we told the family he would be born and the day we called my mom on the way home from the doctor to tell her it was a boy.
I saw my eighth grade end of the year report card. Horror.
Then my little pygmy was crying and holding his face, similar to the way I did when I first looked at my eighth grade end of he year report card. Only this time, there was blood and a lot of it.
“What happened?” came a frantic voice from the stairs, descending quickly.
“He ran out in front of me and I didn’t see him. He busted his eye.” I would lie and say that I used the correct wording, “bursted”, but I wasn’t worried about grammar at the time and frankly, bursted sound much more gross. (Come to think of it, I don’t think bursted is accurate, either). “Bring me a towel or a rag.”
She reached for one off the kitchen counter.
“No, those are clean. Get a dirty one.”
Just kidding. I know better than to apply a dirty rag to an open wound. I won’t say I didn’t feel a little pain about using a clean one, but he’s my son, so you do what you gotta do. You can’t say I didn’t suffer in all of this.
Off to the hospital we went and it was traumatic, to say the least. He screamed and cried and fought when they went to stitch him up. No lie – they had to use six nurses to hold that boy down. I was a little proud at that moment because I saw that he’d been awarded the legendary Blackston strength that manifests mainly when a Blackston thinks he’s going to die. But then he started calling for me to help him, pleading for me to save him and I was powerless.
The wound was just above his right eye and there’s still a scar if you look closely enough. The only problem is that if you try to get that close, he’ll yell, “What are you doing?!” and smack you in the face. It’s the legendary Blackston Personal Space that tends to manifest in a slap to the upper extremities if you get too close.
We were also subject, as he was recovering, to the staff counselor who had a few questions to ask. You can’t blame her. Her job is to protect our children and I appreciate that, but we did feel a bit like we were on trial. She smiled and asked us to remain calm. She informed us that in cases like this, it was simply protocol to make sure everything was on the up and up. By cases like this, she meant ones when it looks like somebody got too close to somebody else with legendary personal space issues. The questions were straight forward.
Did you hit the child? No.
Are you sure you didn’t hit the child? Yes.
What happened to his face? He was flying and landed on the glider in the living room.
He was flying? Yes.
Do you think your son is Superman? No, but he has apparently been awarded the legendary Blackston strength.
Did you hit the child? No.
Did you hit the child? I said no.
Did you hit the child? What do you want me to say? NO!
That will be all.
And he’s still not safe with me, it would seem.
My wife had surgery on her Achilles tendon and now has to be on a knee crutch that makes her look like a pirate. The crutch has to come off when she gets in the car and the other night, when leaving a restaurant, she handed it to me and asked me to put it away somewhere. My son was already in place in the back seat and in the direct line of fire when I tossed it with what I thought was grace and skill. Unfortuantely, legendary grace is not one the Blackston traits and instead of clearing the space between the two back seats, it found its resting place below my son’s right eye.
He screamed, my wife screamed, I screamed, my four year old daughter laughed. An enormous bump rose under his eye and we decided to make an impromptu ice pack using ice from our to-go cups.
“Give me something to wrap this ice in,” I told my wife and she handed me a towel from the dash.
“Not that, it’s clean!”
Then, like a genie from a bottle who sees all and knows all, a woman with a clipboard tapped on the window and my wife rolled it down.
Sir, did you hit the child?
There was no escape for me now and I hung my head in shame.