Originally published on Athens Patch on 10/27/11.
My wife is going to be out of town for the weekend, so that means three days alone with my three sons.
I always dread when Carla leaves town. Not that I don’t enjoy some one-on-one-on-one-on-one time with Jaydon, Jackson and Matthew, but for some reason they seem to overwhelm me in a way they cannot get to their mother. And bad things happen.
The first time she left me alone with the children for an extended time was a couple years ago. After feeling guilty for taking annual “mancations” over our time as parents, I was happy she had the chance to head to Las Vegas with a friend. Despite her reservations, I assured her I could handle our (then) two sons.
And things were going well over the four days. Of course, there were a lot of arguments, junk food, movie watching and staying up past bedtimes, but Carla was actually going to come home to a house that was still standing, happy children and a relatively unfazed father. But her return wasn’t to the house. It was to the emergency room.
It was pouring rain outside and the boys were running circles around me in the house. So I decided to take the kids to McDonalds for dinner, but mostly for a chance to get their childhood energy out in the play area. It was the perfect plan. I could get some much-missed time with my iPhone and the kids could run around.
But then I heard the scream. And it wasn’t just the my-big-brother-was-too-rough-with-me scream. I immediately ran to Jackson as he was hyperventilating. He complained that his foot hurt him. I wasn’t too worried – just tried to calm him down. But as I encouraged him to head back to play, he took a step and collapsed to the ground. I knew it was time to head to the emergency room.
When we got to the hospital, Carla was in the air heading back home. Her plane would land in about an hour. I’m thinking we should be home by then and the damage would likely be minimal. What 2-year-old boy doesn’t suffer an ankle sprain at some point? (Please don’t answer.)
But an hour later we were still in the hospital. Jackson was being fitted for a cast. My iPhone rang. It was Carla.
Me: Hey you.
Carla: Hey you. How’s it going?
Me: Don’t worry.
Carla (sounding worried): What? What’s wrong?
Me: I said don’t worry.
Carla (definitely worried): Don’t tell me not to worry. What’s going on, Joe?
Me: Nothing to worry about. We’re in the hospital.
Carla (extremely worried): What! What happened!
Me: Jack had a little accident on the slide at McDonald’s.
Carla: Oh, my gosh! Is he OK?
Me: Yeah. He’s OK. He just broke his ankle.
Carla: “JUST” BROKE HIS ANKLE! HE’S NOT OK!
Me: Well. OK. You’re probably right. How was you’re trip.
She wasn’t really interested in talking about her trip.
Eventually the cast came off, I learned about her “girl-ventures” in Vegas and she entrusted me to watch the boys solo again. And I’m looking forward to this bonding time. I’m just going to make sure I have all their insurance cards in my wallet.