Friday Night Lights (the bright ones you find in the hospital)

I try to be a fun Mom. I almost have to tell myself out loud at times, “Stop washing the dishes and play Candyland with the Interrogator and the Verb.” Truth be told, there are days when I prefer the dishes to Candyland. That’s a lie. I prefer the dishes to Chutes and Ladders. And I prefer labor without an epidural to Monopoly. I loathe that never-ending game.


To that end, I planned an evening of sledding for B&B, Waldorf, the Kenyan and Fun Mom. (Clearly this took place last year since Jack Frost has yet to pay a visit this winter). Here is how it went down…

It is a Friday night, and my kids are on winter break. I call the babysitter, put the Interrogator and the Verb to bed early, and we are off.

The Kenyan: “So this is what it’s like not to have those noisy little guys in the car with us!”

Me: “Kinda quiet, isn’t it? So, Daddy, where should we go for our very exciting night time sledding excursion?”

B&B: “Oh, don’t you worry, I have just the spot.”

He pulls into the parking lot of the brand new public elementary school and shines the high beams of his truck onto the monstrosity of a hill that butts up against the blacktop.

Me: “That’s the K12, Daddy-oh. The double black diamond of sledding hills. Too steep, let’s find another spot.”

B&B: Turns the ignition off, leaving the high beams on “Hey, guys, Mommy’s scared of the hill. She thinks it’s too steep for us.”

Obligatory siding with B&B from the two buffoons in the back…

Me: “OK, try to keep up, ladies.”

All 4 of us grab sleds and run for the hill. B&B, propelled by his long legs and powered by those bloody Lance Armstrong lungs, reaches the top first.

I look up at B&B, then down at the bottom of the hill. It is a crazy windy night, so the snow is already icing over. The parking lot had been plowed, and all of the snow from the blacktop had been pushed into high, now very icy, piles at the bottom of the hill we’ve just scaled.

I’d better tell Waldorf and the Kenyan to turn their sleds before they get to the bottom of the hill. If they faceplant into those icy piles, it won’t be pretty.

Me: Yelling to be heard over the wind, “Hey, guys, listen…”

My warning is cut off short by the Tarzan-like yelling from B&B.


He takes a running start, then flies down the hill and whizzes past me, hollering and whooping the entire way. Excited, I turn my back before he reaches the bottom in order to continue my own climb.

Once I get ¾’s of the way up the hill, I turn to start my descent. I’m Fun Mom, but I’m not Death Wish Mom. Waldorf and the Kenyan are still climbing.

Where’s B&B? Ah, there he is.

B&B had not made it all the way down the hill. He is lying on his sled, stopped just short of the bottom.

Look at that. He’s winded. Trying to rest for a minute because he’s all tuckered out from sprinting up the hill to impress the rest of us.

Me: “Guys, watch me!!! Woohoo!!”

I cruise down the icy hill at a ridiculous speed, and turn my sled at the bottom before slamming into the plowed snow.

Holy crap, that was fun. The boys are going to love it. I’m going all the way to the top next time.

Me: “Guys, did you see how I turned at the bottom? Make sure you do that too…otherwise we’re looking at a broken bone, and it’s a bad night to go to the hospital!”

I hear muffled cries of acknowledgment from Waldorf and the Kenyan, who continue to climb Mt. Everest.

Where is B&B? Oh, there he is…

B&B is pacing around the parking lot. With the intensity of a family member awaiting news of a loved one’s fate outside the operating room. Smiling, I jog over to him.

Me: “You were right, this hill is no joke. I’ll race your ass up there.”

B&B: “We’ve got problems.”

Pacing, pacing, pacing.

Me: “What do you mean?”

Pacing, pacing, pacing.

B&B: “I mean we’ve got BIG problems.”

Pacing, pacing, pacing.

Me: “Can you maybe stop pacing and elaborate?”

B&B: Clearly exasperated by my request, finally he stands still. “I’m talking broken shoulder problems.”

Me: “Well, fine, let’s find a different hill. I don’t want the kids to break a shoulder.”

B&B: “Bethany, you’re not hearing me.”

Me: “Well, maybe because you’re speaking in code.”

B&B: He takes a deep, frustrated breath…accompanied by a wince of pain and a look of agony on his face “Bethany, I broke my shoulder. I need you to take me to the hospital. Right. Now.”

Luckily, I remain calm during crisis. Well, except for that one time when the 2 year old Interrogator deposited a dime into the Verb’s 5 week old mouth as though it were a slot machine.  And the Verb stopped breathing until we shook him upside down as though he were a piggy bank. I hit the panic button then. But I blame the post-partum hormones for that hysteria.

Me: “Oh boy. OK. I’ll get the boys.”

Mother humper. The Kenyan is going to give birth to a cow when we pull him off that hill.

Waldorf and the Kenyan are just finishing their first runs of the night. They are exhilarated and eager for more.

Me: “Guys, come over here for a minute. Daddy hurt his shoulder. So, we need to make sure we get it looked at in case it’s broken.”

Waldorf and the Kenyan look at me with wide eyes and open mouths.

Waldorf: “How did he hurt it?”

Good question, Waldorf, I didn’t even ask.

Me: “Let’s ask him, but be nice because he is in pain.”

They approach B&B, who’s still pacing in the parking lot. Breathing deeply and muttering curses under his breath. Well, not exactly under his breath.

Waldorf: “Daddy, how did you get hurt?”

B&B: “I sledded into a tree, buddy, I’m sorry we have to leave. But Daddy’s hurt.”

Waldorf, the Kenyan, and Fun Mom simultaneously look at the hill we’ve just conquered.

No trees. Hmm. That’s a little detail we can address after the hospital. I know better than to..

The Kenyan: “What tree? There are no trees on this hill.”

Oh boy. Master of the obvious just couldn’t let his Daddy slide.

B&B: (Wincing as he lifts the arm connected to what I assume is his good shoulder and pointing) “Yes, Kenyan, there is a tree on this hill. It’s right there.”

Waldorf, the Kenyan and Fun Mom all squint and look in the direction B&B’s pointing.

The Kenyan: Voice escalating “There IS no tree on this hill!”

It’s clear we are 45 seconds from a serious temper tantrum. Whether it comes from the Kenyan, B&B or both, still remains a mystery.

Waldorf: Always quick to come to his hero’s rescue “Oh, there it is, I see it. See? It’s really small, but it’s right there.”

The Kenyan: Squinting, “You mean that Charlie Brown tree? You could run that tree over, Daddy.”

B&B is fuming. He marches purposefully toward the plant we have yet to confirm is a tree.

B&B: “Follow me right now. All of you.”

We obey, Waldorf and I making eyes at each other, both of us fully aware that the Kenyan and B&B are about to throw down. And that we are powerless to stop it. The Kenyan begins to cry as he lugs his boot-clad feet up the hill. My poor heartbroken Kenyan.

B&B wraps his fingers around what I hesitate to label as the trunk of a tree. Picture a bamboo stick coming out of the ground.

B&B: “I banged right into this tree with my shoulder. It stopped me cold. It’s a good thing it wasn’t my neck, or I’d be paralyzed right now. And you sledded right past me on your merry way down the hill when I was laying here in agony.”

He looks at me accusingly.

Oh boy, crazy’s loose.

Me: “What? I…I thought you were resting. You know, fatigued from running up the hill.”

B&B: “I was slammed up against this tree!”

The Kenyan: “That’s not a tree! It’s like a baby stick! I want to stay here! I am going to go sledding! We are SUPPOSED to be SLEDDING!”

Oh no. The other crazy’s loose.

The Kenyan grabs his sled and starts hauling it back up the hill.

I usher Waldorf quietly towards the escape vehicle, then double time it back up the hill to attempt to reason with the Kenyan.

Me: “Buddy, listen, I know this is a huge bummer. But, if one of you were in pain, we’d do the same for you. Let’s get into the truck, and we’ll go sledding tomorrow. I promise.”


The Kenyan is actually our easiest kid. He goes with the flow. He plays by himself. He plays well with his brothers. He gobbles up books. Draws his own cartoons. Tries his best at school.  He eats what we put on his plate and doesn’t accuse me of poisoning him. This temper tantrum is atypical behavior for him. Which is why I didn’t grab him by his boots and drag him back down the hill to the car. Because that’s what I would have done with any of the other three if they had pulled this crap.

Me: “I want to go sledding too. It stinks, doesn’t it? This hill is awesome! I think you were faster than Waldorf.”

The Kenyan: Sniffling “I know. I was. And IT’S NOT FAIR!”

I usher him slowly towards the car. B&B is still pacing. The Kenyan, while our easiest in most ways, does have a tendency to sulk. So his head is hanging low. And he is walking slowly to illustrate his distaste with this unexpected (yet almost comical) turn of events.

B&B: “Kenyan, I’m really sorry. I didn’t do this on purpose. But we need to get to the hospital, so please walk a little more quickly. Because I hurt.”

3, 2, 1 and cue the crying

The Kenyan is flat out bawling. As though he’s the one with the alleged broken shoulder.

We all get into the truck. I drive. B&B in the passenger seat, wincing in pain with each bump. Waldorf’s quiet in the back. And the Kenyan is sniffling the entire way, with his Perry the Platypus hat pulled completely down over his eyes.

We drop off the boys at home, make the icy drive to my parents’ house, bundle my Mom up and drive her to our house. She kindly relieves the babysitter, while I drive B&B to the hospital.

We debate going to a different hospital. We’ve had a slew of recent visits to the ER for the kids, and I am slightly nervous that, upon check in, someone may take note of our frequent flier miles and start accusing us of something ludicrous. But, in the end, we go to our old reliable hospital. Evidently, B&B is getting his sense of humor back.

Nurse: “How did this happen?”

B&B: Glances nervously at me, then refuses to make eye contact with the nurse. He whispers, “Do I have to answer with her right next to me?”

I immediately laugh. A nice, big belly laugh. Did I mention in my description of B&B that he’s funny? He’s funny.

The nurse looks at him, then at me, then at him. She’s not laughing.

Nurse: “Do you feel like you’re…in danger?”

B&B glances at me again, then leans toward the nurse and whispers, “Yes. She scares me.”

Me: “OK, enough, funny guy. Tell her. Tell her about the tree. Well, about the bamboo stick, tell her about the bamboo stick.”

B&B: “Wait, what was the story again? You hit me right here with the bamboo stick? Oops, I mean I sledded into a tree that looked like a bamboo stick.”

Sidenote. We have not been drinking. Or partaking in any recreational drugs. This is just typical behavior from B&B. He sleds into a tree, then thinks it’s funny to act like he’s the victim of domestic violence. Now, had he been sledding down that hill and crashed into that sorry excuse for a tree with one of our children on his back? He would certainly have been the victim of domestic violence.

The nurse is not at all amused. She doesn’t know us. She doesn’t appreciate the side show. It is an icy, cold Friday night, the car accident victims are starting to pile up in the waiting room, and we two fools are wasting her time.

B&B puts his serious face on, and she gets rid of us as quickly as humanly possible. As we walk away from her, I put my arm gently around B&B and he says, just loudly enough for the nurse to hear, “She’s doing it again. Ow, please stop squeezing me like that. I promise I’ll be better.”

Me: “You have serious psychological problems.”

But he is funny.

Turns out the broken shoulder is actually a broken collarbone. No way to cast it. No surgery needed. Bullet dodged.

As we sit in triage, waiting for B&B’s release instructions, he looks at me.

B&B: “You’re dying to post this on Facebook, aren’t you?”

Me: Feigning hurt and surprise, “No WAY. Absolutely not. I wouldn’t do that to you.”

Dammit. Foiled. I could really turn this into a funny post.

B&B: “Thanks. I know you could make a funny post out of it, but I’m feeling a little sensitive about this.”

Me: “No Facebook post. I promise.”

No Facebook post could do this circus act justice. This is the perfect story for a blog.

Shhh…don’t tell B&B.

15 thoughts on “Friday Night Lights (the bright ones you find in the hospital)

  1. I look at that tree and cannot help but think that, in another 400-500 years, it may rival the giant redwoods of Northern California.

  2. This was the best yet! I was truly laughing out loud and laughed even harder when I saw the photo of the Charlie Brown tree! HA HA! Love this!

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