Photo by Kristy Rammel
“What happened?” the doctor asks in a thick Middle Eastern accent.
“Well,” Aaron slowly replies as his eyes desperately began darting around the room searching for a way out, fire alarm, incoming trauma—anything that would save him from telling this story again!
“Well, uh, you know those, uh, you know those folding chairs you like camp with and stuff?” Aaron says, as the doctor crosses his arms and leans against the wall trying, unsuccessfully I might add, to look more concerned than amused. The good doctor gave a slight nod as Aaron continued. “Well, you see, uh, we have a really big tree that me and my brother, my younger brother not my bigger brother, well my bigger brother, too …”
“Aaron,” I interrupt. “Get to the point.”
“Yes, Mom. I put a camping chair, one of those folding kind, in the top a tree and was sitting in it, but I think I fell asleep ’cause I fell out … of the tree. Well, out of the chair, too!”
“I see!” the doctor says, as he bites his lower lip in an attempt to contain his laughter. “You were very lucky. You managed to not break anything and your head CT came back clean. It looks like you’ll scathe by with just a few stitches above that right eye. So, did you learn anything from this little adventure?”
“Oh yes sir!” Aaron replies in his sincerest voice. “Next time, I’ll make sure to put the chair on two branches instead of just one!”
Poor doctor! His full-belly roar could be heard throughout the small ER. Almost immediately, the tiny room was full of various staff members waiting patiently to hear Aaron’s tale once again. All the while, our doctor is bent over in the corner gasping for air and muttering “two branches.”
Aaron is my second oldest son. He’s my athlete, my adventurer and my risk taker. He is also my little engineer, always taking things apart to see how they work or creating solutions for various problems he encounters. When he put the chair in the tree, he was attempting to solve an issue he was having: His rear end hurt sitting on a branch for extended periods of time. His solution: a chair.
Aaron engineered a pulley system to raise the chair to the top of the tree. He was careful to choose a thick branch and even considered sun placement when deciding on the perfect nap spot. His only misjudgment, in his eyes anyway, was failing to properly secure the chair on two branches instead of a single one. No, a chair in the tree was not the problem! It was the lack of limb support that caused our trip to the ER!
Luckily for all of us, Aaron has a little shadow. His shadow is much more level-headed than Aaron, but still too young to decipher between good ideas and not so good ideas. Therefore, Aaron’s mini-me, Jacob, No. 3 in the line-up, usually stays grounded in case of an accident and help is required.
As I said, Jacob is much more level-headed than Aaron. Some call it scared or chicken; I personally call it “conditioned.” After seeing his older brother fall out of trees, get slung from makeshift sleds being pulled by four-wheelers or careen downhill as a human bowling ball, he’s learned that his primary job is to “get help.” Unfortunately for Aaron, Jacob’s attention skills are lagging and “help” might be delayed if a butterfly crosses Jacobs’s path. Oh, how I love my poor distracted mini-me!
It never ceases to amaze me how four children with the exact DNA can all be so very different, yet so much like their parents. Spencer has the sharp sarcastic wit of his father (fine, I may be a little sarcastic from time to time). Jacob, like his mom, lacks the ability to stay on target for more than a few minutes. And, of course, Aaron tells the best Saint Olaf stories (think Betty White from “Golden Girls”—no detail too small). After all, why get straight to the point when the scenic route can be so much more fun, right?
No, I did not forget about little Jack-Jack, my farm foreman! I’d love to take full credit for all the love he possesses and blame my husband for all the mischief, but I think it’s divided pretty evenly.
So there they are! You have officially been introduced, briefly at least, to my four greatest contributions to mankind. Yes, I mean contributions. Just remember, Einstein had ADHD, penicillin was an accident, and the comedy world would not be the same if Steve Martin had become a professor or Bill Murray had finished medical school. I don’t know where my four will end up. It could be the White House; it could be a jail house. But I, their mother, will be right behind them, whiskey in hand, ready to come to their aide at a moment’s notice (aide, bail….tomAto, tomato).
So, until next week, hug your kids, embrace their diversities, and remember these words by the great Bill Cosby: “Every success story has a parent who says, ‘over my dead body.”