All little boys love to wrestle. My boys are no different. They’re like bear cubs. They are a constant whirling tangle of limbs and machismo, peppered with laughter, sometimes drenched in tears, and for reasons not quite grasped, always thirsty for more.
They pretend to be so macho that when they coo and tickle their baby brother and get him to laugh a good hardy laugh, they feel they must whisper, “I don’t believe in fairies, I don’t believe in fairies…” Just in case the baby’s laughter produced something so girly and pink as fairies.
My husband grew up with ten brothers. No, you didn’t misread. Ten brothers, as in eleven total. Having been raised in this, as his father once put it, “pack of wolves,” he understands well the need for a boy to prove his strength and exert his muscles. It’s why he has compiled a whole playlist devoted to organized home wrestling matches.
I’m sure you’re wondering, so I’ll answer your question: “Eye of the Tiger” from the Rocky series, “You’re the Best” from the Karate Kid montage sequence, along with other heart pumpin’ ditties featured on BYU highlight reels on Youtube.
It was a warm autumn day, one of the last before Jack Frost would inevitably flip the switch, and we had all the kids out on the lawn converting sunshine into energy like saplings.
The famous playlist ignited and before I could recruit anyone for bubble blowing, my boys had a stick in the grass indicating where to bow before putting their UFC maneuvers to the test. With the Karate Kid soundtrack as the backdrop and with the kids on the sidelines shouting things like, “Sweep the leg! Sweep the leg!” my oldest and his little brother were half sneering, half giggling, each aching to slam somebody’s shoulder blades into the soil when the chorus kicked up.
Point one, point two. Match point. Furrowed brows. Keep it clean gentlemen.
And then it happened. One fast and furious roundhouse kick to the face and little brother crumpled to his knees like a shirt with no starch. His hands covered his mouth in agony while the rest of his face burned with unmistakable rage. You know that look. Like when Ralphie had reached the end of his rope with Scut Farcus. Angelic blue eyes look even bluer when bloodshot with sheer anger.
It had gone too far. My boy was hurt and what’s more, he was hopping mad. Oh why do we let them wrestle like this? These are stitches just waiting to happen, not to mention we are fanning the flames of sibling rivalry! Why couldn’t we have just blown bubbles?!
Right when I was about to give my “it’s all fun and games” lecture, my little bear cub’s tight lipped grimace of rage turned into a smile. Then a laugh. Then jubilant elation!
“I lost my tooth!! I lost my tooth!!”
He’s seven. Loosing teeth is a good thing. That roundhouse kick to the face had done the trick! He’d been waiting for his top front tooth to fall out for days. Too scared to yank it out himself, too terrified to let me at it, but so wanting to graduate to that adorable all-I-want-for-Christmas smile, it took big brother and Mr. Miyagi with an iPhone to make it happen.
After I ushered the crew inside for milk and cookies, grateful to all be friends again, and very grateful to not be spending the evening in the ER, I couldn’t help but replay that moment in my mind over and over again. Utter anguish to pure elation in two seconds flat.
Isn’t that how we all feel when something hard and awful turns out to be a blessing in disguise? Isn’t that how we react when we are snatched out of a dangerous situation, or suddenly realize that our rocky road in life has led to somewhere absolutely breathtaking? How nice it is to smile at the bright side.
It’s even nicer when that smile renders a visit from the tooth fairy.
Read more by Margaret Anderson at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com