Last weekend we were invited to a birthday party for my nephew, Connor. We were told to prepare for cake and ice cream and a water party. The kids played in a pool as the adults sat on the patio solving the world’s problems. At some point during the evening, Jessica flashed a green light to Connor, who doused my back with his super-soaker squirt gun. I immediately decided to spread the love, so I grabbed the nearest assault weapon—a pump action water rifle—and sprayed my 20 year-old brother (who’s going on 13). Apparently the small stream of water was more than Shane could handle. He lost his temper and jumped up to chase me.
I hadn’t planned an escape route and I needed time to re-charge the weapon. I turned and attempted to run away from my assailant, but found my pathway blocked by some plastic patio chairs—some with occupants, some without—and a large plastic car the girls had parked in an ill-fated location. My only option was to turn around and face the music. But just as I was turning around, Shane shoved me in the back. Caught off guard, I tried to keep my balance, but ended up knocking over a plastic chair. I partially re-gained my balance, but began toppling towards the plastic car. As I fell, I contorted my body in a manner that allowed me to narrowly avoid a collision with the car (OK, so that may sound a little more graceful than it actually was—but hey, it’s my blog). I ended up sprawled out, face-down on the lawn.
When a 300-plus pound man is shoved off a patio, goes flying through the air, attempts a 180 in an effort to avoid serious injury to himself and other people’s property, and lands in a belly-flop on the back lawn—nobody says a word…“Crickets”. The family—including my attacker—was in shock. It’s not something you’re lucky enough to see everyday.
My first instinct was revenge. I envisioned the sweet pleasure of jumping up and chasing him down (as in countless family-friendly battles of the past) tackling him on the lawn, and beating him senseless (well, at least his upper arm). But suddenly it dawned on me. I’m a grown up. I’m 34 years old. I have three kids—two of which are old enough to model my behaviors. So I just lay there, allowing the fumes to cool, and realizing the whole thing was probably my fault anyway since I provoked him with the water gun. (Actually, in hindsight, I’ve since reasoned that the birthday boy may be to blame since his initial actions introduced the idea of spraying Shane into my head. Or maybe the blame lies squarely on Jessica’s shoulders for sanctioning Connor’s juvenile delinquency.)
While the family sat in stunned silence, there was one small three-year-old who wasn’t going to take Shane’s actions lying down.
My little Rylee-pot-pie came to my rescue. Like a three foot pile of fury, she went after her Uncle Shane.
According to witnesses, the vengeful contortion of her face reflected a determined resolve, ‘Don’t you hurt my daddy!’
So Rylee-pot-David took on Goliath. Undaunted. Unrelenting. She gave him everything she had...
She ran up and kicked him in the shins.
Six or seven times.
She gave him everything her bare little feet could muster.
Our common enemy stood there dumbfounded.
Fortunately (and rather surprisingly) he was thoughtful enough not to shove her to the ground next to me.
Thanks Rylee. You’re my hero.
Mental Note: Always good to know who’s got your back.
As for Tayler: “Sweetheart—It’s OK to come out of your hiding place...It’s been 6 days..."
"Don’t worry, Uncle Shane won’t do that to Daddy ever again (at least Daddy won’t be dumb enough to turn his back on him again. Also... sorry you had to learn at such a young age that daddy isn’t invincible. But just remember, I can still fix anything that breaks (or at least run and buy a new one without you knowing). And I’m still the best looking and most charismatic boy you know (and better be until you turn at least 21).”