Black eye bar

I just got a text message from my mom stating she made it back to Colorado. I would say she mad it home but she is stuck at the Hayden airport waiting for Mark to pick her up. I wouldn’t blame Mark though, she got there a bit early. She left this morning before we got up. It was nice to have her here. After spending so much time with her this last year the last few months have been a little different without her around. I think also for her it has been sort of a let down from last year watching over me to be back at home getting her routine there back.

She has had a lot of changes over the last year and I think she finding Steamboat a little lonely as Alaska has dragged Jim away more this year and she is not overworking herself at her old shop. I think she enjoyed a lot hanging out with Luke and Emily in Hawaii and up here with the boys. I know it is hard for her at times to keep up with the boys in our icy conditions  but she was quite helpful while here with picking them up and watching them around the house. Quite often she was shackled with not only our sons but other friends. I guess I shouldn’t say shackled as she seemed to enjoy it. Despite Finn being a little testy and having some separation anxiety she really seemed to enjoy the time with the kids.

Last night as I cooked dinner and got the kids stuff ready for Junior nordic I enjoyed listening to Gayle and Finn play hide and seek up stairs. Although I don’t remember specific times playing such games with her as a kid I am sure we did. When she is around I am often thinking of times we had when I was young and what it must be like for her to see her boys all grown up. I can only imagine there is some significant pride. I bet there is some interesting pains also.

I thought of a rather funny story about her the other day. I was helping Finn get ready for going somewhere and told him “no” about some silly question. He hauled off and head butted me (he has recently had a little dirty fighting stage which we are working on riding him of). He caught me off guard and I was left with a throbbing ear. But it brought up the wonder of how many times I did something of the same nature to Gayle or Jim when I was a kid.

I remember vividly one time when I was only about 6 or 7 a nasty little move I pulled. Somehow I had come across the fact or discovery (for a 7 year old this was pretty cool) that the toilet paper holder/bar when removed had a legitimate spring inside it. This fact, for a young boy, made it a useful weapon in the fight against…well what ever bad guy seemed to be the flavor of the week at the time.  I am rather confident that the design of this little two piece bar and spring was not for hunting of any sort. I am also sure that these were not fully tested out by young boys before being sold to the general public because I am sure there are other dangerous activities this set up could be used for. At some point product engineers must have realized these were dangerous as I have noticed now most are made of plastic or do not have a very significant spring in them.

When the smaller bar was held all the way inside the larger rod the smaller bar became a true mini missile. After a number of attempts at use in the bathroom, my 7 year old mind told me it was time to use in the real world. I am pretty sure I tried to hit Mark first but he was a bit to quick. I had probably already that day been scolded for attempting to hurt Luke so I didn’t go after him and probably thought it wasn’t that challenging as he was only about 2. The obvious next target would be, my mom!

I remember that I heard her out in the kitchen and I think she had a friend at the house at the time. I remember sneaking down the hall and bearing into the kitchen. As Gayle came around the center isle towards our sink I was given a clear view. I quickly pushed in the small bar, jumped around the corner, shouting “I got you” or something similar. I aimed the little TP bar gun and let the bar fly.

We can just say at this point in my life this was a pretty mean and poorly planned attack. Gayle for a long time wore glasses but for a while when we were young did wear contacts and this was one of those days. The bar flew with amazing force, clearly more than expected. Although my intention I believe was to strike the chest area, which wouldn’t have been good either, the target suddenly became the face, specifically her eye. I can’t remember which one I hit but I think that is of little consequence now.

I remember her look of surprise from the sneak attack. She was probably just playing as I often do with Liam when he believes he snuck up on me. Her surprise quickly turned to real fear when the metal object fired at her struck her in the eye.  She reeled back appropriately in self defense and let out one of those deeply felt yelps of pain. I didn’t stick around. By the time she had covered herself from further assailants  I was sprinting back down the hall to my room. I don’t remember hearing any cursing (which I am sure I did even with the little head butt incident) which may show her true strength and resolve or my shear fear of having just blinded my mother.

The funny thing is I don’t even remember the punishment or what happened after I retreated. I am sure I received some sort of punishment although I guess it was less traumatic than my attack and probably had little less effect than my own guilt. The fact that I still remember it even as a slightly funny story showed that I must have garnered some lesson from the event. I think the truth is that parents can take a pretty serious beating while raising kids. Mentally and physically it is a challenge to avoid their exploration of the world of pain in which they can inflict. I know my parents must have suffered their fair share of trauma with three boys. But it is even more impressive that as parents they keep coming back for more because they never know when it will just be a wonderful little hug instead of a black eye.

I mentioned a number of times this last year how hard it was to return to living with parents after being so independent. It is hard to have those extra couple people in the fray of running a family. Of course they are helpful and of course we can’t thank our parents enough this year for all they have done. I have to admit though that I have loved having my parents around after the initial adjustment. Even though I don’t talk to Jim and Gayle much about my thoughts of the childhood I have them and I enjoy them. The same goes for my parents…I have them and I enjoy them.

Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.   


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