Will third time be the charm next year?

Every year my in-laws have a party around the 4th of July. It’s a long-standing tradition, and always a lot of fun. This year I think we had around 100 people if you count all the kids.

Well, last year I took over as designated griller. I cooked for an hour or two, and before I could finish, our eldest got sick. Not wanting to infect the rest of the party goers, we decided to leave. So I got to grill and then leave.

This year, it happened again.

However, It happened in a much more spectacular fashion. First off, I need to set the stage. My in-laws had set me up right. There was a small tent with two grills, my own private cooler stocked with my favorite beverages, a couple of tables for prep work, and, a recliner. Yes, a leather la-z-boy type recliner. Needless to say it rocked.

So, I began cooking. I did everything slow and methodical. We had Italian sausage, polish sausage, hot dogs and brats. It was great. After about two hours of cooking, we were down to the final two pans. One of Italian, one of brats. Jen took the brats (slathered in grilled onions) up to make me a plate. That’s when it happened.

My sister-in-law whizzed by and told me to help my mother-in-law immediately. She also said “It’s not as bad as it looks.” She then ran off to find my wife. At that point I turned to find my mother-in-law carrying my 18 month old, the entire side of her head covered in blood. We’re not talking a little blood. We’re talking most of her skull ensconced in a crimson hue that directly matched her Lil’ Miss Firecracker shirt.

Needless to say, Daddy freaked a little bit. We grabbed some ice and some paper towels to stop the bleeding. The cut was small but kinda deep. After cleaning away some of the blood, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it had originally looked. Jen showed up, ever the solid rock of calm, and put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. I, on the other hand, ran around like the proverbial chicken with his head cut off, on crack, after too much coffee… I snagged the diaper bag, the keys, some more paper towels… and we hit the road for the emergency room.

Claire had been accidentally hit by a rope swing. Another child had pulled back the swing and let go, and Claire walked right into the path of destruction. Complete accident, but one that required three stiches nonetheless. The emergency room didn’t take quite as long as expected, but it was traumatic for poor Claire. We had to hold a numbing agent on the wound and were told to do it until they came back, which they said would be about 20 minutes. Well, unfortunately Ms. Firecracker was having NONE of that. She wouldn’t let us hold it on, so we were forced to constrain her and hold her down while we held the cotton ball of death on her head wound. I forgot to mention, Claire is not fond of being restrained.

Soooooo, Claire basically cried and screamed and was pissed off for the next forty minutes. Yeah, it took them forty minutes to come back. So then we had to wrap her up in a blanket and constrain her again for the stiches. I basically laid my body across hers to hold her down and she voiced her displeasure directly in my ear. But, after a few minutes it was over and we could let her loose.

Claire will hold a grudge. She always does. But for some reason she just hugged Jen and gave her a kiss, and then gave Daddy one too. It’s like she knew she had to be held down, she just didn’t have to like it when it was happening. We returned to the party to pick up the eldest, and Claire got to have a couple of marshmallows down by the bonfire. She was happy as a clam and has been great ever since.

Next year, I’m eating MY brats first. πŸ™‚