My son’s worst night


Whenever my kids complain about having “the worst day ever,” I shrug and ignore them. There’s no way, at ages 7 and 10, they’re experiencing the worst days ever. I mean, what can be so bad? They haven’t experienced death, taxes, starvation, imprisonment, Rick Springfield concerts. It’s all been pretty easy.

That being said, tonight my son Emmett, the 7-year-old, wasn’t living large.

It started after a meal at the nearby Japanese steakhouse to celebrate the end of school. My wife was waiting inside the pay the bill, so I took my kids and my nephews outside to goof around. I’m big into creating games, and I had them do a bunch of races. The final race involved running from one side of the sidewalk to the other, then back. I screamed GO! and Emmett went as fast as possible—failing to slow down for the approximately 10′ by 10′ man-made pond, filled with those large orange fish. SPLASH! He fell in and, for a moment, doggy paddled in stunned disbelief. He wasn’t hurt, but he was—understandably—embarrassed, and as he rose from the water he cried. I understood.

We drove home, and he seemed recovered. We chatted, we laughed …

… and then he slammed the door on his finger.