Oh, sorry. Were you drinking something? Put it down.
I’m sharing this as part of my therapy, because this is no way to treat a mother with PTSD. Writing about it is therapeutic for me. If it makes you laugh, that is actually a good thing, as that also makes me feel better.
Last week, somebody gave my son a muzzle-loader. Last week, his father and he went to the place where you buy such things and bought the gunpowder and other stuff they needed for the muzzle loader. As it turned out, they didn’t need that gun-powder, they needed something else. What and why is neither here nor there, so don’t ask me. It doesn’t matter, and I don’t know anyway.
What matters is that there was some gunpowder, and it didn’t have a purpose in life, and you are already wondering, with your heart in your mouth, exactly where this is going.
It’s going pretty much where you think is going, so here is the story of how this Thanksgiving began with a bang.
You can already tell it’s going to be a doozy, can’t you?
Thanksgiving morning while I was doing some last minute things in my room, there was an incredibly loud boom outside which made me jump. I was annoyed with my son for shooting near the house without telling me first so I could put ear plugs in, because that’s a rule. I don’t do well with sudden loud noises at all.
My husband came in a few minutes later and said that he was sending one of the girls to the store because there were a couple things we still needed for the day, did I want anything. He was acting odd, but I didn’t think much about it- I thought he was sheepish about not having gotten the last of the groceries yesterday.
Later, after the FYG came back, my husband came back in my room and handed me a huge bag of peanut butter cups (over a pound). He said this was by way of apology and consolation, and everything was okay, but….. (I hate stories that begin with those words, haven’t I mentioned that before?).
He’d let the Boy go outside to play with gunpowder.
Yeah. Let’s just think about that one for a minute. We might as well, because obviously somebody else did not.
The Boy had asked his father to come out to burn the gunpowder with him, but the father said no. He says he thought about it, and he decided that it would be just fine, and that’s what he told The Boy, “No, it’ll be okay. You’ll do fine without me.” And now The Boy is fine, but his face looks sunburned, he’s missing half an eyebrow, the eyelashes on one eye are curled, brittle, crunchy, and sooty (it actually looks like of like guyliner on that eye), and his hair in front is also brittle, crunchy, and black. What his sister was sent to the store for was bandages and burn ointment.
I stared at my husband. I opened and closed my mouth a few times, doing a goldfish imitation. I cleared my throat and I asked my husband if I understood this correctly, that he was really telling me that we’re lucky our son wasn’t blinded or worse. I really hoped he would tell me that of course I had totally misunderstood him and this wasn’t what happened at all. Instead, he asked why I had to go there, isn’t it enough that nothing worse did happen? Everything is fine after all, he said. Let’s just look at the bright side, he said.
Being the sweet Proverbs 31 wife that I am, naturally…. ” let’s not,” I said. “That stupid optimism and dumb faith is exactly why your son is missing an eyebrow and the eyelashes on one eye. So, no, I don’t think that’s a good idea” I said. “If somebody in this family was less optimistic and bright sidey ahead of time, we would not need to spend so much time looking at the bright side after the fact,” I said.
“Eat your chocolate,” he said.
“Show me my son,” I said.
I think his hairline is probably a quarter of an inch further back than it was yesterday. His forehead also has a couple scabbed over parts, and his lip was blistered (this, he says, was an oncoming cold sore, he thinks the gun powder sucked all the moisture out of his lips, brought out the cold store, and then it went away again within hours, although this is not a cure we can recommend). I had been told he’d burned off his entire eyebrow, but he hasn’t. It’s only half. And this, they all tell me, is an improvement. He apparently looked *much* worse when he came in, But they doctored him up and he took a nap with a cold wet wash cloth over the aloe vera slathered on his face *before* they told me.
I did not leave my room for hours. At the Thanksgiving festivities my friend A. said to one of the girls, “Your mom is at home having a nervous break down, isn’t she?” And one of the girls said, “Yes, and you’re halfway there, aren’t you?” and these things were both true. Eventually, I left my room and went next door to have Thanksgiving with 30 plus people, including my eyebrowless son.
ALL of the females were equally disturbed and upset about what he’d done to himself and ALL of the males could barely restrain their admiration and did not restrain their nonchalant, ‘but it all turned out okay so what’s the problem?’ attitudes.
We got back home from the Thanksgiving Day festivities at midnight, and my son came in my room to tell me good night and I learned some other details.
The Boy ALSO had the two Little Boys out with him during his gunpowder experiment, but he was impressively and amazingly diligent about protecting them. He has his old fort in the front yard- it’s now essentially a giant fox hole. He put the boys in there and insisted that they stay and just peek out over the top. The gunpowder line he was planning to explode was a safe distance away from *them.*
When the explosion happened, he said for a split second or two he couldn’t see, and he thought he had damaged his vision- it was actually his glasses, covered in soot and probably the ashes of parts of his hair. In spite of thinking he’d half blinded himself and in spite of the pain from his burns, his first impulse was to run to go make sure the boys were okay, but his second impulse, in that split second where he thought he’d damaged his vision, was to groan to himself, “Mom’s gonna kill me.”
When he told me this I told him that while, yes, I was horrified, appalled, and 17 different kinds of upset at what he’d done to himself and what he had almost done to himself, I was at the same time immensely proud and impressed about how careful he had been with the little boys (I am so proud that it brings tears to my eyes). HOWEVER.
“What your mother wishes,” I said, ” is that you would be just as careful for the safety of *my* son as you are for somebody else’s sons.”
He grinned at me and said, “Well, you know, there are fewer legal issues if I damage *your* son.”
I shared this with my husband who nodded thoughtfully and said, “Boy’s got his priorities straight.”
I hope 1000 mg of tylenol is enough to let me sleep tonight. No telling how much tylenol my husband’s going to need…. (I jest, I jest).
P.S. “hmmm,” says a friend who was there. “I assume nobody told the Little Boys’ mother about this? Because I saw her give The LITTLER Mister a lecture on the dangers of rubber band guns. Seems a little odd for a woman whose sons earlier witnessed their surrogate older brother try to burn off all of his bodily hair with gunpowder.”
I think we have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy about that stuff.
Also, some of you wanted to know what it was he wanted to blow up. Ha.
A friend of his told him he thought it was pretty astonishing that his first coherent thought after “I’m blind” was “Mama’s gonna kill me.” I told his friend “boy’s got his priorities straight.” Haha.
I make this kind of funny, but no, I am not really amused. Except that a friend tells me from now and forever more I can always answer any argument from the boy with this, “But you tried to burn your face off. I win.” So there’s that.