Thursday, February 24, 2011

Twenty-six missed calls. Eight new voice mail messages. Forty-five minutes away from home. That was our Friday night not so long ago. After attending the annual Pinewood Derby at out church, my wife and I, stuffed with Sloppy Joes and green beans (interesting combination), decided to drop the kids off at home and spend a little time together. Being the adventurous and romantic couple that we are, we settled on a trip to the local bookstore.

We settled down to our magazines – Country Home and Vogue for her, Vanity Fair and Majesty for me. After sitting in companionable silence for about forty-five minutes, we decided that it was time to head home. It was late, and our boy scout probably needed some consolation for coming in last in every race at the derby. Just judging by my magazine choice, you can probably guess I am not much of a woodworker.

Getting into the car, I usually make it a habit to check my Blackberry to see what important messages have come in since I last looked at it and, generally, there are none. None that are important that is. After work hours the most exciting calls I get are from one of the kids wondering when I will be home and did I pick up any watermelon, or an important message from Direct TV about my bill (yeah, so it’s late. I have three more days until there is any “service interruption”. Calm yourselves.). This night was different. Twenty-six missed calls in forty-five minutes was a lot even for my telephonically adept brood, and eight new voice mail messages seemed to spell trouble. I was right. The first one was from my daughter breathlessly telling me that my oldest son had probably broken his arm. The next was from my father-in-law telling me that my son had probably broken his arm and he was taking him to the emergency room. The third call was from my mother, just letting me know that Jack had broken his arm and that his grandfather was taking him to the hospital and why wasn’t I answering my phone? They continued in this vein.

The most interesting message was from the mother of a girl with whom my son was spending the evening. Of course, he was supposed to be with an entirely different friend, but somehow found his way to the school playground with a gaggle of admiring girls and a jump rope. Now, my son is a bit of a ham, and I have a feeling that with a group of other attentive early-teen females, he gets even hammier. Sadly, his trick jumproping show went south, along with his arm, making a very painful, and rather expensive, contact with the concrete.

Arriving at the hospital, my initial thoughts were about the poor kid and the pain he might be in. My wife was a little less empathic, not entirely pleased that we were at the hospital rather than the ice cream shop just a few blocks away. After seeing our son, obviously in some pain, but stoic to the end, I have to confess I had a little pang of hunger for a Prince Puckler’s sundae, but back to the situation at hand.

In-laws dispatched home, we had some one on one time with our son. Like so many other difficult family situations, it turned out to be a kind of fun evening. I can’t tell you how many great laughs and how many good talks I’ve had at those festive family events like funerals, late night visits to the doctor, kidney stone prompted ER calls or long drives home from the dentist’s office after an extraction. We're just that kind of family.

If there’s any point to this, it’s that some of the most annoying family situations can actually lead to some of the more rewarding advances in our relationships. Having said that, the next time my wife and I go out alone, we are hitting the ice cream parlor first.

1 comment:

  1. Oh that is hilarious Jake! Ryan did practically the same thing at the company picnic last summer. He was showing off for ME and he did a back flip off the swing! The pain was bad until we got to the doctor's and he found out he broke the arm. Then all was good and happy and exciting with him! LOL He LOVED having his broken arm and the story that went with it.... for about 1 week. The other 4 or 5 weeks weren't so happy. LOL Great story.