…At Nini and Papaw’s house in Birmingham. Failure to launch. Nini and Papaw woke bright and early at 5 a.m. and dressed to drive me and all four of my children and all four of their suitcases to the airport, only to be greeted with the news, “We’re not going.” I am reminded of the time last fall when Dan dropped Nini off at the airport after a visit to Minneapolis. She came walking back up our front steps about 2 hours later, flight cancelled, just in time to see Dan opening a bottle of wine in celebration of her departure. We will never live that bottle down.
Our extended stay has a more unfortunate explanation. Last night Charlie was enjoying a jump on a neighbors trampoline with his Papaw. He landed funny and five hours later I was carrying him out of the E.R. with a little tiny cast on his broken leg. He has born it bravely. It was fairly easy to bear the E.R. visit bravely, since he was given exclusive rights to the remote control. He discovered ESPN. For four hours he flipped back and forth between four ESPN channels, just amazed to see grown-ups punching each other in the face (boxing), grown-ups driving around a track to see who’s car is the fastest (NASCAR), grown-ups trying to crush big things with big trucks (Monster Truck), and grown-ups competing to see who could lift the heaviest rock (Strongest Man in the World). When eight o’clock rolled around, I tried my hardest to interest him in Downton Abbey, to no avail. After an hour of ESPN he looked at me seriously and said, “I am having a lot of fun.”
The ESPN high point was followed by the low point when the doctor came in and explained that Charlie probably won’t be able to bear weight on his leg for six weeks.
Me: “So will he have little crutches?”
Her: “No, they don’t make crutches that small?”
Me: “Then how will he get around?”
Her: “You carry him.”
Charlie and I stared at each other in horror.
This weight bearing issue is a problem for me, because Annie doesn’t bear weight on her legs either. And although Miss P can bear weight, she doesn’t really like to.
When I called Dan from the hospital to tell him that I didn’t know if I would be able to make it on our morning flight, he protested. I was touched…although I’m not quite sure if it was really missing us so much or not wanting to pay 500 dollars to postpone the flight. We’ll go with the former explanation. He insisted I could manage.
Me: “But what if his leg is in traction?”
Dan: “That’s what the emergency exit row is for.”
Me: “But wouldn’t he need something under his leg?”
Dan: “I’m sure the airlines are well prepared for this kind of thing.”
I’m not sure what I was thinking. Maybe I was inspired by the strongest man in the world, who I now know can lift a 375 pound rock. But I agreed to give travel a try, came home from the E.R. and packed our suitcases. Then at four a.m., after a long night with a crying boy, I came to my senses and called Southwest and got our flights changed FOR FREE! So now we are staying until Thursday, and assuming Charlie is no longer in a lot of pain, we will hobble home.
I can’t say I’m disappointed to get a few more days of relative warmth and relaxation. I’ll admit, I had considered a dramatic fall at the airport, or just shrieking, “Don’t send me back!” But let the record show, I wasn’t even with Charlie when he fell.
Charlie’s day today wasn’t half-bad. Susanna came over with a big stack of board games and, more importantly, she brought Cousin Wheeler Brown to play the board games with Charlie. Aunt Sally brought him nuggets from Chick-Fil-A, matchbox cars, and a tube of chapstick! Susan Gunn brought face paints and Play-Doh. Lisa Quinn, bless her heart, texted to offer me the large cow insemination gloves she said were a real life saver when little Samuel broke his arm and had to take a bath with a cast on. Lisa’s uncle is a cow inseminator, but she tells me anyone can buy these helpful gloves at Mills Fleet Farm. They are about as long as Charlie’s leg if you were wondering.
The sympathy gift winner, however, was ever resourceful Aunt Betsy, who arrived tonight with a little black wheelchair she found us FOR FREE. The little black wheel chair is a game changer. Charlie is in heaven racing around the house. It also takes my plan of relying on the sympathy of strangers to help me get through air travel to a whole new level. Especially since I will have to push the double stroller and Elizabeth will be pushing the wheelchair. She’s already practicing for her airport debut. Now if Charlie will just cry, “God bless us, every one!” We’ll be in business.