John, my husband, and Jamison, my 9 year old are the picture of caution. They are slow and steady. Every move they take is well thought out and weighed in their mind. After much consideration they make a decision to do or not do something, and nothing will sway their minds.
“No two boys could be more different.” This is a statement that my pediatrician has stated over and over to me referring to Austin and Jamison. Austin, my 13 year old, and I am more impulsive and often jump into something without thinking. Although my impulsiveness is usually linked to impulse purchases when shopping and last minute getaways, Austin is more of an actual risk taker and will try things that John and Jamison just shake their heads at. He skis with abandon and races down the mountains and attempts black diamonds that make me cringe. He will try certain foods that no child would actually like. A person certainly should never offer him a dare. Just don’t do it.
Every year when we head off to snow country we have an annual snowball fight that the boys look and plot our demise. Jamison always wants to make a snowman, of course they all ski, and we always take the boys sledding. This year the John and the boys had spent so much time skiing that our vacation was winding down. It was late in the afternoon and Jamison reminded us that we hadn’t gone sledding or built a snowman.
So, the snow pants get put back on and we drive around to the back of the condo where there is some open space. We attempted the snowman but no fresh snow had not fallen our entire trip and the existing snow was thoroughly iced over. Then the boys spied the most awesome sled hill, complete with various sleds and tubes left at the bottom.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” Austin calls as he starts running to the abandoned sleds. He grabs one and climbs the trail to where you could tell that sledding had occurred.
Although I am a writer and have a flair for the dramatic, I promise you that this sled hill no was no ordinary hill at all. It was a serious small mountain. The boys have sledding experience but they have never attempted anything so high. The walking trail lead halfway up this mountain and then the sled area went down from that halfway point.
Of course Austin got to the sled area ahead of everyone. Sat himself on the sled, pushed himself off, and all I saw was a flash as he sped down this mountain. At the base of the sled area there was a small bump, which propelled my 13 year high through the air, while he clung to the sled.
“Did you see the air I caught? Woo I was high.” An excited and flush-cheeked, Austin informed us as he was running back up to attempt it again.
Next up was Jamison. I walked up the trail with him and gave him a little push off. Jamison wanted to go and then changed his mind a million times before he decided that if Austin could do it so could he. He smiled and laughed the whole way down and jumped up and wanted to do it again.
Before going back up the mountain, the boys grabbed the tubes and decided they would offer more cushion on the landing from the “catching air” part. As I was standing at the sled area, I saw John grab a tube and without saying a word he walked up the trail. However, he didn’t stop at the halfway part where I was, he smugly walked to the very top of the mountain with Austin trailing behind him.“John” I calmly asked him “Are you crazy? Come down from there. Don’t you dare, you are way too old for this. Think about your bad back. Are you having a ‘Carpe Diem’ moment? No. Please, no.” Then a little more sternly I happened to mention, “Act your age.” Silence. “Oh my goodness here he comes!”
Jamison with his eyes wide open says, “Huh, well, would you look at that? He’s alright. Right. Uh, Dad?”
At the base after 10 beautiful rolls John landed face up. I quietly asked “Are you ok?” With no response or movement from him I asked him more loudly as I start running down.
As I got down to John I saw that his eyes were open. He had the breath knock out of him, his tailbone was throbbing, and his back muscles started going into spasms. I helped him to the car and was going to take him to the Urgent Care center that was at the ski hill basin, but his typical man response was to go back to the condo and take some Advil. Nearly 4 hours later the color slowly returned to his face and 2 weeks later his back and tailbone are still killing him.
“Why on Earth did you do that? That is so unlike you.” I questioned him.
Right then I knew that male bravado had gotten the best of him. He wanted to show his boys that he “still had it” and that he wasn’t an old man as they sometimes teased him. “Sometimes you just have to try something. How much air did I catch?” He tried to change the subject.
Austin was greatly impressed which brought a smile to John’s face as he held back grimaces of pain, “It was so cool Dad. You caught so much air. You rolled hallway down the mountain. You looked like a stuntman in the movies. Impressive. I wanted to try it but Mom wouldn’t let me. You are so lucky?”
Jamison concurred, “Wow, Dad, You really busted a move.”
John smiled, “I busted something alright,” as he reached for some more Advil.