They say that stress builds itself up in your shoulders. The stress in my shoulders has apparently caused me to have some sort of strange pinched nerve in my left shoulder which causes my arm to hurt so bad, that at times, I can't grip the handle on a coffee pot. This is bad, because I really really enjoy coffee. It's also bad, because I do everything with my arms and hands. It's not bad at this moment, just after I have been doing any sort of work, or I have been using my arms to carry things.
Don't worry. Carrie and I are going to see a massage therapist very soon. Her hands fall asleep, and her back and shoulders hurt. Hers is of course caused by carrying around three boys. Mine is from years of carrying around a 15 pound guitar that has really altered my skeletal structure. That, and we are both a bit stressed out these days. We have two couches in our living room, and we both sit and talk for long periods of time about just how in the hell we plan on pulling all of this off. That and we talk about names. She is also way smarter than I am. Last night after we had been laying in bed for a while, both wide awake, she said this:
Carrie: We need to take a CPR class, maybe one that concentrates on children.
Dag nab it! Why is she so much smarter than I am? This had not even occurred to me. Of course we should. I'm a terrible father already!
Since this whole being a father of triplets thing has popped up, I have been remembering my own childhood. I am blessed with a very good memory. I remember things that stun my mother. Many of these moments are so vivid to me, it is almost like I can just step back into my three year old body and alter the events of the past.
I remember one specific incident that happened when I was around 5. This would have put my brother at around 2. I do remember this; he could not talk. Anyhow, Mom was reading a book and Dad was watching T.V. There was a candle burning on the coffee table. I was fascinated by fire. I grabbed a Kleenex, wadded it up, and stuck it in the flame. Mom and Dad weren't paying attention. I walked from the living room to the kitchen, and it started to burn my fingers, so I dropped it on the kitchen floor right in front of the refrigerator. Then I did the obvious thing and went and hid under the dining room table. Mom must have sensed something, so she came into the kitchen and saw the small fire burning on the carpet.
Mom: Richard! The floor is on fire!
Dad runs into the kitchen.
He is wearing socks.
Dad: Susie! Stomp it out!
Mom stomps it out with her shoe.
It had made like a three inch by three inch burn in the carpet.
I'm still under the table.
Dad: Michael! Come here.
I crawl out from under the table. Brother Jason is standing there.
Dad: Michael! What happened in here?
Now, I was scared. Mom and Dad were both staring at me.
Then it occurred to me. Jason can't talk!
Michael: Jason grabbed a Kleenex, stuck it in the candle, ran in here and dropped it on the kitchen floor.
Dad gives Mom a hard look.
They look at Jason who at this point realizes on some level that I had just thrown him under the bus.
He's two, so what could they really do? Dad picked Jason up and said "NO" like four times and pointed at the carpet. Then he went in and pointed at the candle and said "NO" a bunch. What was he supposed to do? Looking back on it, I am sure they really had no idea what to do. Their two year old son had started the house on fire.
I couldn't believe that I had gotten away with it. Dad kept looking at me and I'm pretty sure he wasn't totally sold on the whole Jason thing, but he had no proof.
Years later, I fessed up to it.
Dad just shook his head. This is a common reaction he has had to my antics over the years.
I had awesome parents. I never wanted for anything. I had everything I needed and many things that I'm sure I didn't. Some would call it spoiled. Maybe so. However, having the best Mom and Dad a kid could hope for really puts pressure on you not to screw up your own kids. I have to at least be as good as my old man. He was really good, so this freaks me out.
One more quick story.
I have a lot of very vivid memories from around the time that Mom was pregnant with my brother Jason. During this time, Dad brought me home my first kite. I was three. We went in the backyard over Dad's lunch hour to fly it. I remember the exact blue paint brush that he put through the toilet paper cardboard thing that the string was wrapped around. He let the string out and the kite flew up in the air. All three of us sat on the back porch and Dad handed me the paint brush.
Dad: Hold on to this. You can't let it go.
We sat down and I held the paint brush and watched my kite glide across the Kansas sky. I was amazed.
Dad sat on my left on Mom on my right.
I stared down at the blue paint brush that was running through the string holder.
Dad read my mind.
Dad: Don't let it go. Your kite will fly away.
We watched the kite for a few more minutes, and then I did what I had to do. It's what I would do for my whole life. I continue to do things just like this.
I let go.
The paint brush went skipping across the yard.
Dad jumped up, ran as fast as he could, and dove for the string. His hat came off and there was a cloud of dust where he landed.
He walked back to the porch and handed me the paint brush still stuck in the string holder, shaking his head.
Dad: I told you not to let it go.
I took it back from him. My Dad has always been there to bring me back my kite string.
I hope I can do as good for my boys.