I have five sons, ages 7-25. All of them have some brain damage, and it happens something like this:
“Anyway, the little guy came barreling in there, and just as I stepped out, he turned and smacked right into my sword! Clanked his head, I’m sorry to report, but all little boys have to have some amount of brain damage, otherwise they aren’t real boys. And that’s how I met him.” ~The Walls in the Middle of Idumea, coming summer 2019
It starts when they’re babies and they roll into walls. On purpose. Again and again.
Then as toddlers they run into corners of tables, couches, and the walls, again. Sometimes on purpose, just to see if it will cause as much pain as before; sometimes on accident, because they’re actually running for the couch and somehow the wall got in the way.
As gradeschoolers, the brain damage occurs in too many ways to count, but here’s a short list:
- bike crashes,
- skateboard crashes,
- walking crashes (they literally crash their foreheads into the driveway, and there was nothing around them to cause it, not even another brother),
- tag-you’re-it crashes,
- riding in a wheeled garbage can crashes (I refused to go help with that one, but got a hose instead),
- let-me-hit-you-with-this-wheelbarrow crashes.
You get the idea.
When they’re high schoolers, brain damage occurs in more dramatic if not bizarre ways, such as falling out of 60 foot-high pine trees, or getting tossed out of a wheelchair a week after foot surgery when a friend (a teenage boy, of course) decides to entertain his temporarily invalid friend by taking him “four-wheeling” through the fields behind the house. (Fortunately the wheelchair suffered more damage than my son did. He moved to crutches sooner than he had planned.)
Then there are the real dangers: cars, boats, four-wheelers, motorcycles, walking down the street (STILL they trip over themselves and get road-rash in the oddest of ways).
And now after teaching high school for two years, I believe this even more:
I love boys, little and big, my sons and others’ sons. Their daring makes them courageous, powerful, and hilarious. My three adult sons seem to be managing all right, despite their earlier mishaps. Or maybe, because of them.
They see that they recover from their exploits, learn something useful along the way, and now have an awesome story to share.
So I cringe every time a son or a student begins a sentence with a sheepish expression and the words, “You’re not going to believe what happened . . .”
Because actually, I will.