Wednesday, November 12, 2008

They Call Me Tree

I waited to blog about this until the boy was home and safe. My 16 year old son, who likes to surf, skate, ride dirt bikes, and jump off cliffs or rocks into deep pools of water, gives me a lot of grey hairs.


So, when he was packing up to go to his friend’s house on Monday afternoon because Tuesday was a holiday, I couldn’t help but notice the odd assortment of gear he was taking. Skateboard, check. Backpack, check. Helmet, huh?


Why are you taking your motorcycle helmet and not your skateboard helmet?


It provides better protection.


Next, he grabs his protective gear (gloves, pants) for dirt biking.


Where and what are you skateboarding?


We’re into bombing hills these days.


There are many times I have to remind myself to let things go. To be happy that my son, who had many difficulties in elementary school with motivation and self-discipline, now has a 3.7 GPA. That I have not had to check that he did his work since 7th grade. I should be happy that he has taken extra classes and is ahead on his credits. That he does a lot of chores around the house.


Still, there are only so many ways to survive your heat skipping a beat and your stomach doing a triple backwards flip.


Every once in awhile I think, why oh why after nine years of baseball, soccer, basketball, and football; after hours of driving to practices and hanging out in parks and potlucks – after all the time and energy, where was that corner he slipped around when I wasn’t looking and decided extreme individual sports was his thing??


One day, while I was fighting anxiety while I watched him body surf waves that would keep me from even a quick dippity do da, I heard a voice. At first it was faint. I tried to ignore it. With each crashing wave it got a little louder. Ah. There it was again. My father’s voice. Suddenly, a full blown flashback in Technicolor and surround-sound invaded my consciousness.


I’m 16 years old and lying in the back seat of our family car. My foot is elevated on the front seat and it’s swollen at least three times its normal size. My dad is driving me to the emergency room because while riding my horse in the arena, my horse slipped in the mud and fell in one swoop on his side. It happened so fast I wasn’t able to bail and my foot got caught in the stirrup. When my horse fell, the stirrup twisted with my foot inside, smashing it against the ground with the full weight of my horse on top, breaking three of my metatarsal bones.


The tricky thing was, I was told…no actually, it was more like forbidden, to ride that day. It had been raining for several days straight, the arena was muddy and my dad told me that although the sun had been out for a few hours, it was still too wet and slippery. I could go up and groom my horse, but no riding.


So the whole way to the hospital he yelled at me. Something like,


You god damned hard head. What the hell is the matter with you? If I had a nickel for every minute I had to spend in an emergency room with you, I’d be a rich man.


He also swatted at me and the side of my head at stoplights on the way to the hospital.


Those other trips he was referring to include:


  • Getting a nail slammed into the bottom of my foot when my best friend and I , at eleven, jumped off her barn roof holding sheets like parachutes and landed in her dad’s strawberry fields. The winds were whipping it up that day and it was actually kind of working, I mean we never broke any bones. Just bad luck that a board with a nail was under the plants.

  • Running barefoot down the pier and slicing the pad of my foot on another nail that was sticking half way up.

  • When my girlfriend in high school who had a jeep and used to always take us four wheeling rolled her jeep down a hill – about 15 times.


These are times I was hurt and do not include the rock and tree climbing I did when we lived at the beach.


The apple has fallen. Kerplunk. Karma’s a bitch. And my dad is up there, laughing his ass off at me. And hopefully keeping an eye on his grandson.

26 comments:

goodfather said...

My heart stopped several times reading this. You have so eloquently summarized the experience of having a daredevil for a son (and daughter). I'm convinced (based on my own experience with MY son) that its genetic...

thistle said...

oh my lord...he is so like my nephew The Mechanic...and you sound exactly like my sister, except she blames BIL for the kid's craziness and claims Constable SoccerMom as 'her' son...altho the truth is that little bit of irish blood we carry probably also contributes

at least your kid is wearing protective gear...altho TheMechanic always claims more padding=more risks...and maybe i shouldn't have told you that...

changing the subject quickly...

i love the bit about the parachutes...especially your claims of a nearly successful mission LOL

only a movie said...

Hmmm. Apple isn't falling far from tree. Nicely put.
I feel your pain. And wish mine were smart enough to be compliant about protective gear!! I cringe when he leaves the house. We've been to the ER so many times!
:-) really well written, Pseudo. You must be, like, and English Teacher or something.

Jan said...

My mother had FIVE of us. We had bicycles, motorcycles, skateboards, rollerskates...oh, and no helmets or padding.

One of us was ALWAYS hurt. My brother once broke his ankle jumping out of our treehouse. Our stepbrother knocked out four of his front teeth leaping from one end of our jungle gym to the other. I once spent two weeks on crutches and with my arm in a sling from trying to do wheelies on a skateboard, and my left ankle spent more time being sprained than it did being not sprained. My youngest sister was always either in a cast or sporting stitches (she once broke her leg falling out of the top bunk bed in our bedroom).

Take heart - if my siblings and I could survive our dare-devil childhoods, your son will too. Just like you did.

Debbie said...

I don't have a daredevil and after reading this, I feel I need to be more thankful of that. How do you sleep? I get scared to death when they drive in the rain.

smiles4u said...

Great post! My heart goes out to you as both of my boys were dare devils growing up...they are still dare devils now that they are young adults but since they don't live at home anymore I don't know about all of their ventures. We made many trips to the ER over the years and to the orthopedic doctors...enough that they knew my first name on an on going basis!

My girls have a little of that "adventure streak" in them too, just not so much. Now I just get calls from the one daughter ever now and then to tell me that her and boyfriend are going on a off trail hiking/camping trip in the mountains and that if I don't hear from her by such and such time to call the authorities and tell them they went in at such point and haven't come out. Now I'm glad that they are smart enough to do this but why they choose me to tell?

I suppose they did get some of it from me which my father loves to remind me of.

I too have blamed my gray hairs on them!

Kristan said...

I could totally see you watching your son and then all of a sudden being "transported" into the past with your father yelling at you, kind of like a flashback in a movie or on TV.

I'm glad your son's okay, and you're okay, and I'm sure your dad is thinking, "NOW YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS."

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

goodfather - yes, I believe it may be genetic. very strong gene apparently.

thistle - i love your comparisons with BIL and nephew. my son would probably so like hanging out with them. son loves Canada, since my friend took him with her and her family to Whislte snowboarding one year - where he broke a wrist the first day and then proceeded to snowboard everyay with his cast on. one question - who is Constabal Soccer Mom?

movie - don't give him too much credit, he doesn't always wear is gear - this new thing he is doing must be dangerous for him to gear up like that. sorry about the emergency room connection - we don't need that one.

jan - thank-you for your stories, it does help put things in perspective. Your poor mom! I am so thankful that my daughter loves musical theatre. OH! you made me laugh to snorting over the broken leg from the bunk bed. that's some fall.

debbie - driving is always a scary one - no matter what. especially in the rain. Now that both of mine are driving, my sleep isn't so good until they are home.

smiles - it's always the mom, isn't it? i hope your daughters take cell phones wiht them when they go.

kristan - yes, completly transported. I'm prone to both flashbacks and deja vu and sometimes have a hard time telling which is which.

Just B said...

This was a great post, funny and potent. I was in the midst of reading it when my littlest FINALLY pooped on the potty. So in a way you shared that wonderful moment with me. And because I was in the middle of your post and feeling so many of your emotions, I cried when she pooped!

Every step of the way, we fuss and fear and flail uselessly about as so many of the things they do are completely out of our control.

At least he packed the helmet!

Deconstructing Jen said...

This is a fantastic post. Funny and so true. My daughter isn't quite old enough yet for this to apply but I can already see the signs that I am going to be atoning for all my childhood sins through her. Karma indeed.

Lo said...

aw, my eyes teared up at the end!! i'm sure your father is watching down, laughing and protecting.

i'm glad your son has such an adventurous spirit!!!

crone51 said...

Oh my. I literally felt your pain. And I thanked the gods that I had girls.....oh wait, one of mine spent a month living in a tent in primate a reserve in Kenya this past summer didn't she? I am not sure why she didn't get eaten by a lion.

Mama Dawg said...

It sounds like he is, indeed, up there protecting your son. Lucky!

McEwens said...

I so feel your pain! My oldest is a dare devil, jumped out of moving cars (run over by the way) good grief, how do we moms live through all this!

Glad your son has his grandpa protecting him...

thistle said...

Constable SoccerMom is PerfectSister's other son, older brother of the Mechanic...he's a police officer of the red serge variety here in Canada...

my sister also said that they had a standing reservation at the ER with those two boys, and the staff knew them so well that by the end of his last year in high school they would just hand the Mechanic the stuff to do the wound clean-up and prep and then come in at the last minute to do the stitching...

oh..and the Constable and his Mom have an unspoken agreement to not talk about his job...some things are better left unknown...

Twenty Four At Heart said...

My youngest was in the ER so many times his first 7 years. I blame him for every wrinkle I have. The kid was born fearless. Fortunately (fingers crossed/knock on wood) the ER visits seem to be farther apart now as he's gotten older. It's a good thing. I was worried social services would start questioning us if he kept up with the injuries!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I love the commiseration. Living life to its fullest for an adventure enthusiast can be a bit nerve racking for the enthusiast's loved ones. Helps to know I'm not alone. Kenya, moving cars. I guess I should be more thankful for what he hasn't discovered.

Jennifer said...

OMG--I was cringing reading some of those things that happened to you! Your leg!! I hope you recovered from that okay. I know it's hard when our kids are out doing daredevily things--I get anxious if they're just out bike riding!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!!

Smart Mouth Broad said...

I think this is why God gave me girls. I think I'd have a heart attack with the things boys want to do. It's bad enough with girls.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Jennifer- thanks for stopping by!

SMB - Two girls is a wonderful blessing. My daughter keeps me sane.

shaunna said...

you left out the time you sliced your hand open when you tried to climb the fence @ the drive-in (and the family doctor being dead-drunk while he stitched it up), and... and... and...

fallen from the tree, indeed. more like male carbon.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

i thought about putting th eone in with the hand slicing.

Rhea said...

Payback. lol

What the heck is hill bombing?! That doesn't sound good...

Lynn - the piggy bank painter said...

<('(..)')>

Anonymous said...

hill bombing is when they go to the tops of roads and skateboard down them. usually late at night so they don't get hit by cars. and i mean it doesn't have to be roads but they usually are because where else can you find steep long well paved area to skate down?

it's ridiculous.

Laura said...

So I am assuming the moral of the story is that you let your son go without nary an expression of worry.

The worst injuries with my daughters: when one fell off her bed and when the other slid into a door jam--in the house with shoes on. So you really never know.