Hello and good day!
It was a cool winter afternoon.
The sky was pink and blue at sunset. The clouds were golden cones, lit from beneath by the disappearing sun.
A father and his two sons were behind the house playing catch with a tennis ball. They had a steep hill in the back yard.
The boys, a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old, were up on the hill throwing the ball down to their father below.
Dusk washed over the neighborhood and the 6-year-old announced that he was cold and bored and going in. He came walking down the hill and went in through the back door.
"Do you want to go in too?" asked the father to his 3-year-old.
"Not yet poppy. One more."
"Ok, put your hands out."
The father lobbed the ball underhand up to his son.
It was difficult to see the ball in the darkening afternoon and the ball bounced off one of the little boy's hands and rolled down hill.
"I'll get it!" shouted the boy.
He charged downhill and halfway down he tripped and was thrown forward headfirst with his arms out in front of him.
He landed hard on his chest and ribs. His face was covered in grass. And he began to whimper softly.
It wasn't the hysterical cry of a child momentarily dazed and stung, but who will soon shake off the pain and recover.
It was the sound of something gone very wrong.
The father came running over and crouched next to his son.
"Where does it hurt son?"
Although whimpering, the boy found enough equanimity to speak.
"It's my arm poppy."
The father looked at one of the arms and it looked normal. He looked at the other and the little boy's elbow was down on his forearm.
"You will be alright son. I have to roll you over now and I will put the hurt arm across your body to support it. Then I am going to carry you in my arms through the house, to the car, and we will go to the hospital."
The boy sniffled. "Ok poppy," said the boy.
The father rolled his son over and scooped him up.
The boy was hurt badly, and he continued to whimper, but the whimpering was restrained.
By coincidence, the father's brother-in-law was in the house.
"I need you to drive us to the hospital," said the father.
The brother-in-law looked knowingly at the father, and the boy in his arms, and prepared to leave.
"What happened! What happened!" shouted the mother.
"He broke his arm. We have to take him to the hospital," said the father.
"I have to come! I have to come with my baby!"
The little boy stopped whimpering for a moment.
"I want to go with my poppy," said the little boy.
"We'll be fine. This is the bravest kid in the world. Please stay with the other two," said the father.
"I'm ready," said the brother-in-law.
The father sat in the back seat with his son, carrying the boy in his arms.
At urgent care, they took x-rays, and it was very painful for the little boy, because the technicians had to move his arm around.
The boy whimpered but never wailed or complained.
Afterwards, the nurses wrapped the arm in thick ace bandage and told the father to schedule surgery.
There was a long fracture down the elbow.
Two days later, the family went to the surgical center.
The little boy had a fatly wrapped arm, hanging in a sling.
After checking in, the family sat in a consultation room to meet with the surgeon and the anesthesiologist.
"Who will walk the boy into the operating room?" asked the surgeon.
"It depends on who our son prefers," said the father.
"Who do you want to come with you sweetie?" asked the surgeon.
"I want poppy!" shouted the boy, with enthusiasm.
The father and mother smiled at each other, tickled by their son's bravery.
"I'm with you all the way son," said the father.
"May I have a moment alone with dad?" asked the surgeon.
"Of course. Come on dear," said the mother.
She walked out with the little boy, back into the waiting room.
The surgeon spoke to the father in a calm, businesslike, tone.
"I just want you to know that when we put the mask on your son to put him under, he will struggle and try to escape, and we will have to restrain him. It happens every time and it can be disturbing for some parents."
"Why does that happen?" asked the father.
"Fear. Stress. They see the big light above them and strangers in blue scrubs and blue caps and blue masks and they panic. Just be ready."
"I can't imagine my son doing that."
"I know you are proud of your son, but it happens every time. Prepare yourself mentally."
Time came for the father to take his son into surgery.
A nurse showed the man and the boy to a changing room.
The father stripped the boy down to his Toy Story underwear and pulled a blue paper gown over his head.
"Are you ready son?"
"Let's go. I'm so proud of you for being brave. You're the bravest person I know."
The boy smiled and the father kissed him on the head.
They walked down the bright white hallway together holding hands.
They turned left through swinging double doors and then right through another set of swinging double doors and then they were in the operating room.
The surgeon and her assistants stood around the operating table. The room was filled with tools, scalpels, tubes, and small circular saws standing upright on stands.There was a small stepladder leading up to the table.
"Come on son," said the father.
The father helped the boy climb into bed.
The boy laid with his head on a blue pillow.
An overhead lamp shined down on his face.
"They are going to put the mask on you now, like we talked about. You will fall asleep in a couple of seconds. There is nothing to be afraid of and I will stay here until you fall asleep."
"Ok poppy," said the boy.
He trusted his father completely.
The anesthesiologist put the mask on the boy and the boy looked his father in the eyes the entire time.
Soon, the boy drifted off.
The father looked down at his son's wide, oval eyes, now closed, too big for the boy's face, as they were since the day he was born.
He looked at the boy's soft black hair, too soft and too downy for the boy's big, hard head. His features were too delicate for a boy so brave.
The father nodded to the surgeon and began to walk out.
When the father reached the door, the surgeon called to him.
"One second. I want to tell you something."
The father turned around.
"That never, ever, ever happens. I've never seen a 3-year-old so calm under the mask. That is one brave boy."
"Thank you," said the father.
That 3-year-old boy is now 8 and he is my middle son Levi, the most naturally brave person I know.
Thank you so much for time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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