Hurts So Good

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A phone call in the middle of the night is usually never a good thing. It's almost as if we stop breathing the beat after we click the Talk button and greet the caller with a less than inviting "Hello?" And if you are a parent, the fear is multiplied by the number of children you have, so that means for me, it's 2 x holy crap.

About 1 a.m in the week-before-school-starts time zone, I was just drifting off. Both my kids were cramming everything into this last week. Friends, sleepovers, general innocent carousing. After getting my youngest to bed with his overnight posse of buddies, my cell phone went off and like a scene from a bad sitcom, I went for the phone with much scrambling and cursing. On the other end of the line, I heard my 14-year-old who was at an overnight with five other 14-year-old boys looking to eek the most out of their last days of summer. "Mom, I've hurt my arm ... bad," he says.

A broken bone or two can be an excuse to take a break from athletics and focus more on arts and cultural attractions. At least for a while. - PHOTO BY JAMES LEE
  • Photo by James Lee
  • A broken bone or two can be an excuse to take a break from athletics and focus more on arts and cultural attractions. At least for a while.

The only good news here was that I realized I was awake and able to think clearly since I instantly wanted to admonish his word choice. OK, I didn't, people. I held my tongue and instead of correcting my teenager with a terse "The word is badly," I told him in my calmest, everything-will-be-alright voice, "Will, I'll be right there." It took all I had though. And yes, on a more serious note, I know there were more aspects about that late-night phone call for which to be grateful, but high school is just around the corner, and the English/Lit courses only get tougher. Or is it more tough? Whatever. All in all I knew the situation was as William had so aptly said, "bad."

So, as of the printing of this blog, we are now 12 days past the late-night call and here's where we stand: fractured ulna and radius in the left forearm. My son has temporary titanium rods in his arm and has to work very hard to form the OK sign with his left thumb and pointer finger. Getting around school is a chore.

The good news is that his dominant hand is his right, and he has more than enough willing friends to help him carry books and a could-it-be-bigger binder. Then again maybe that has something to do with his "Golden Ticket" -- a pass that allows both William and his helper to leave class early to avoid the crowds in the middle school hallway.

It's all not so great. It's difficult to find a sleep position that is comfortable. Showering is a chore. Fun at the pool has been shut down. And -- here's the kicker -- for three months, all contact sports (even cross country, which carries a chance of falling and refracturing the arm) are out.

Do YOU remember being 14 and how movement could make or break (no pun intended) the day? With many hours a day of athletic and endorphin-producing time each taken away, my question is what do you replace it with?

There will be television. There will be movies. There will be sneaker conventions. There will be high school football games to watch.

But thankfully, I'm reminded that this is Indianapolis, and our arts and cultural community can provide some relief for a broken-winged teenager and his stir-crazy mama. Looking ahead to September, we can travel to the Indiana State Museum and visit the Rad Science: Skatepark Physics special exhibit.

We will explore the forces that make skateboarding such an incredible extreme sport to watch and, for the more adventurous types, to try. It will be set in a realistic skate park scene with many interactive elements that highlight physics such as gravity, force, velocity, and acceleration that make kickflips and busting an ollie possible.

Side note: I'll be sure to point out to my son how inventions like helmets and wrist guards have helped many a daredevil on a skateboard.

There's also the Flava Fresh XII presented by and shown at Garfield Park Arts Center going on this month. This is an annual juried art exhibition series of fresh, contemporary art. It was created to highlight those artists who are making their way in the art world -- emerging and often under-represented.

Who doesn't love an underdog, especially one with paintbrush. I'm imagining taking a carload of 14-year-old boys to Garfield Park for a lot of culture and sunshine. Another good spot for that same group of testosterone could be the ISO at Marsh Symphony on the Prairie. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will be zoot-suiting their way onto the stage Aug. 14-15. They are loud. They are fun. And if any musical group can make a kid tap their foot, it's them.

I also think it's high time that William and his cohorts see one of the IMA Amphitheater's movie under the stars and there are three good contenders coming down the pike: The Big Lebowski (8/14), The Shining (8/21), and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (8/28). Yes, it's still a screen he will have his eyes on and he will once again be sitting, but there's people, picnics and partying all around. That's gotta be good for the mending soul.

Another goodie just about to burst onto the arts and culture scene is the annual Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival. This year marks its 11th year, and I finally think my oldest is ready to handle some of the shows' ballsy and bodacious material. There are eight venues and more than 350 performances over 10 days. I have my eye on Jason Adams is a God Damn Mind Reader for William and I to attend. It will be worth it just to see William's expression when I tell him the title of the show. "You said what, Mom?!?!"

Broken arms, a broken heart or two and even a broken dream are all a part of growing up. Sometimes when we turn our head and look in another direction, what is broken stops smarting as much. As our exploration continues so does the mending. I'm so happy to live in a city where we have so many cultural events to explore and take our mind off what is broken. Now all I need to do is turn my son's head and let the healing begin.

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