“Honey, one of these days we’re going to laugh about this.” This has been my husbands iconic saying for as long as I can remember whenever crazy intersects our lives. I have grown to love and appreciate this about him. His cup is always half full; he always sees the best in people and situations. No matter how bad, he finds the positive, leans in to me and says his sweet words with a wink. And you know, he’s always right. What would bring near panic, tears, or heartbreak, always turns into something we can now laugh about. Anyone who knows him or knew his family will certainly recall how they dearly loved to laugh. I can still hear his dad get so tickled that he’d slide out of his wheel chair -Jack had MS. Darren has had his fair share of...well...I guess...life. He watched his dad battle MS for 15 years and lose, lost his mother to brain cancer a few years later, then lost his only sibling a few years after that. Life...resilience...perspective...gift...God. I am thankful.
Let me share with you a favorite real life story. One Sunday afternoon when our middle son was not quite two, we had just gotten home from church. Darren ran in to change and I stayed outside and let the boys play in the back of Darren’s brand new work truck. I was right there, leaning on the side when Kolby slid his arm in a hole in the side of the bed just his size. Again, I was right there, I watched him do it. He raised his dark little head and looked at me intensely with his chocolate eyes and gave me a concerned grunt. Not knowing, I tried to help him pull his arm out-he instantly cried. “What’s up buddy,” me, still calm, “let go.” I thought maybe he was holding something and that was keeping him from pulling his arm out. ‘Come on Kole, let go,” I say as I watch his big brown eyes tear up. His response caused me a little concern. Kolby was such a sweet little guy, but goodness, he had already proved himself to be quite stubborn by this point. Even with the tears, I was convinced that his arm being stuck was due to some little treasure at the bottom of the hole. My tone grew more stern and his response matched with mine. After a few minutes of sweet talk, stern talk, frustrated momma talk, I decided it was time to pull out the big guns, aka Dad. But how to keep this now screaming kiddo from bailing off the side and turning an inconvenient event into a broken arm, trip to the ER event...big brother, William. Darren was still inside, taking way longer than normal, and I need help...now! I tell Will to hold Kolby, with both arms around his little belly while I go get Daddy. Mind you, he is only 22 months older than his little brother, so this puts him at not quite 4. I can still see his icy blue eyes peaking over Kolby’s shoulder, arms wrapped around his brothers belly, face set with determination. “I’ve got him momma,” his eyes told me.
I ran to the back door and nearly jerked my arm off, not expecting it to be locked. Suddenly my response to this little emergency doubled in intensity. Darren told me later that he wasn’t sure why he locked the door, habit maybe. I looked back to make sure Will had everything under control in the back of the truck, and then proceed to start banging on the glass of the door like a wild woman. After what seemed like an eternity, Darren comes calmly waltzing up...in his underwear. Slightly bewildered by his crazy eyed wife, he opens the door and before he could get words out, I say, “Kolby...arm...your truck.”
“Let me get my...” he tried to get out before I interrupted with a slight shrill.
So Darren, still calm, heads out to the driveway in his scivies...I can laugh about this now. He reaches the boys, accesses the situation, Will still hanging on to Kolby as if his brothers very life depended on him...so Will. Darren gets that stern Daddy tone with our little guy, but to no avail. We resorted to bribery of better treasures inside the house, “just let go,” of whatever you are holding! I’m not sure at what point we started to realized that perhaps he wasn’t hanging on to some little something, but had somehow managed to get himself stuck. All the tears had made our brown eyed boy very sleepy, but because his arm was inserted into this hole just above his elbow, he could only stand. By this point his little legs were shaking. I leaned against the side and tiptoed to make myself tall enough for him to rest his head on my shoulder.
Darren, still in his underwear, had tried every handy guy trick up his sleeve...I told you, I can laugh now. “What do we do!” I ask in panic. If Darren can’t fix this...”should we call 911,” I ask.
“No!” His tone was finally matched with my concern. After a few seconds of pacing, still in his underwear, Darren decided to call his big brother. Rick was a fireman in OKC, use to emergencies, but at the station. He convinced Darren to call the Blanchard fire department. With loss of pride and great hesitation he called one of his buddies, explained the situation, insisted that while we needed help, it wasn’t an emergency, so, “no need for sirens and lights.” Well, while the fire department rolled up nonchalantly, the police department missed the memo, hence lights and a quick bleep of siren as they pulled into our drive as if to announce their arrival on the “scene.” By the time the ambulance got there, by appearances, we had all the looks of an emergency!
At this point, Darren had found himself some clothes, oil had been poured down the hole in hopes that by the time the emergency crews showed up we would have Kolby in our arms free from the mean jaws of daddy’s truck instead of out cold, leaning over the side with his head resting on my shoulders. With casual hellos, handshakes, and jovial chuckles at the situation Darren and the men make their way to me, my back to them, tipi toed, trying to keep Kole asleep and calm.
“Have you tried oil?”
“Yes,” we say.
The lead man squats and peeks underneath to see if he can tell what had hold of our little guy...nothing. After a thorough inspection, he casually comments, “We may have to use our welding torch to cut him out.”
I shoot a shocked and sharp look at Darren, knowing he would never...but he did, as I watch him shake his head in cautious agreement. This is when Kolby wakes because his now wild-eyed Mom swings around to look at these crazy men-Darren included- with their nutty ideas. I proceed to address them all in my best, stern momma voice that there is no way on God’s green earth that they are going to use a torch on this truck while my baby is stuck in it! I’m envisioning burns, screams, not to mention an explosion from the heated gas tank that was right there...somewhere...close...it’s a truck...it has a gas tank! Are you tracking with me? I’m becoming a hot mess!
For what seemed like too long, “the men” decide extra help is needed. Another emergency vehicle that’s somewhere else-facts are a bit fuzzy in my mind, probably due to sky high blood pressure and time-is equipped with the jaws of life device. While my heart calms at this very sound and reasonable idea, Darren’s heart rate seems to escalate. I did mention that this was a brand new truck, didn’t I? I don’t think he had had it a week yet. Out of his mouth comes, “tell them no need of lights and sirens.” Not what I was expecting.
Now that I’m writing this, maybe this is when lights and sirens where used instead of when I said before...I’ve slept since then...haha. Like Darren always says, I’m telling it as I remember it...but I always seem to feel my version is closer to how it actually went down...LOL!
Well, the jaws of life finally show up to save the day, my baby, not to mention a rattled momma’s heart. Have you ever seen these used? So amazing! It didn’t take long before we could see what was actually holding our little guy firmly in place. It wasn’t a treasured prize, as thought before, but a finger sized hole in the side of the larger hole that his arm was protruding out of. Somehow Kolby had reached in the hole in the side of the truck and found another hole to stick his little finger into and got stuck. How in the world?!? With all of the tugging, his finger had become quite swollen. With a little oil, and almost two hours later, our sweet little guy was free! All was well and ended well.
It was earlier, while in the middle of it, leaning against his truck, trying to keep a crying child calm on my shoulder, waiting for the jaws of life to arrive that I remember Darren telling me, trying to calm me, “one of these days...”
...not all of our stories have happy, fairytale endings. Some are still so raw that only a slight smile is coupled with a tear, but I have seen that Darren’s words almost always have been proven true...”honey, one of these days we’re gonna laugh about this.”
Y’all have a beautiful day!
I am a simple and ordinary girl who loves to share meaningful stories about the extraordinary people and blessings, the sweet everyday happenings that make me smile. I hope you all have a beautiful day!