By DARREN HANDSCHUH
“OK, dad, don’t get mad.”
There has never been a conversation in the history of parenthood that went well after that opening line from a child.
I have had that line dropped in front of me a few times over the years, and the conversation always went downhill from that point.
Those five words are often followed by an explanation of why I should not get mad.
“We were just sliding down the stairs in that big cardboard box and we accidentally went through the wall at the bottom of the stairs. It’s not that bad. Really. See, it’s only a small hole.”
A small hole? A St. Bernard could do a back flip through that hole.
That is a true story by the way.
It was partly my fault, because I saw what they were doing and thought, “That looks like fun. Go for it, dudes.”
For half a second I even thought of joining them, but then decided recovering from a back injury was not the best way to spend the weekend.
They did go for it and I got another chance to practice my drywall skills. I did not get angry at their impromptu renovations of our home seeing as how I endorsed the activity, besides that wall needed a square metre replaced, puttied, primed and painted anyway.
Now had my wife seen their home-made roller coaster I am pretty sure she would have put a stop to it.
When I saw what they were doing, I suggested they bend the top of the box over their feet so it won't get caught on the carpet and they could go faster.
It worked too, they went so fast they put a hole in the wall.
Another line where nothing good has ever followed: “Uh, dad, do you have an extra set of car keys on you.”
That one has happened a couple of times and usually after a conversation where Junior asks for the keys to get something out of the van.
“Don't worry, I will bring them right back. Yes, I'll lock the door. No, I won't lose your keys between here and the van and back.”
Junior then goes off while mumbling something about how annoying worry wart dads can be.
The return trip had a lot less mumbling in it as Junior tried to conjure up an extra set of keys and weigh his options before getting to the worry wart.
The situation was, he opened the door, put the keys on the seat, got what he was looking for and locked the doors.
Well, at least he did not lose the keys. We knew where they were – safely locked inside the van.
Sometimes disaster strikes with out the youngsters even realizing it. The other day, Junior was going downstairs, but walking down all of the stairs was way to complex, so he decided to introduce his own way of going from up to down.
He decided to jump. No big deal, he and his siblings have been jumping from the bottom couple of steps for years.
Only this time Junior, who is a teen and built more or less like a miniature Ahnold, decided to jump from the very top, that is 12 stairs worth of free fall before he reached the first landing.
He landed with a boom and carried on like it was nothing, which at the time it was. However, a hour later I went downstairs and something just did not feel right.
Upon closer inspection I discovered the landing, which is about a metre square, was now four inches lower in one corner, the corner Junior landed on. The bottom three steps were also loose.
So now we get to share a father-son moment where we team up to repair the house and where Junior promises never to do that again.