It Was Our First Rodeo

The first time is always the hardest.

Did you ever make a new recipe? One that had ingredients, tools or techniques you’ve never tried before?

Like the mini-blowtorch technique used to finish a crusty, crunchy flan top?

Intimidating, right? I’ve never done it.

Or, think back — how about that first airplane trip?

Do you have the right papers? What are the rules about liquids? Can you find your gate? Will you get through the metal detectors with the decorative metal zipper on your shirt? Is your carry-on small enough to carry-on?

Gets your blood pumping, yes?

What about an unfamiliar drive through a big city, five lane traffic at the height of rush hour? Do you have a co-pilot? Going it alone with GPS? What if your car breaks down? Brake lights are flashing. Is your exit on the left or right? Tolls-do you have enough change?

Heart pumping a little fast?

Often, once I get through a new experience, I can look back and say, “Well, that wasn’t so bad.”

The next time I prepare the dish, take flight or repeat the traffic route it’s easier because of familiarity. The unknown has been taken away. It’s always the unknown that gets me. My head full of what ifs.

Our rodeo yesterday? A day spent in the surgical clinic for N’s shoulder repair? It wasn’t nearly as bad or scary as I let my mind build it up to be.

In all fairness, I’m not the one in the recliner being dosed with pain medication, but for my part, I let a mole hill become a mountain. I let my thoughts carry me to places I did not need to go.

I should get the words breathe more-worry less tattooed on my hand.

A good friend once told me: What is small to the bear is big to the mouse. I have carried that beautiful phrase with me ever since. Is it possible we can grow from a mouse to a bear by facing that which frightens us?

Yesterday, when the shoulder surgery was complete, the surgeon came and told us everything went great. The labral tear was quite extensive, requiring four anchors. He was able to repair and tighten, creating a nice bumper. Hopefully the ball will never leave the socket again.

It wasn’t the first rodeo trip for the surgeon or the staff. They were well prepared to deal with our nervous group. I will have to find a way to thank them for their skill and kindness. Maybe some flan?

When N was wheeled back to the room, he was shaking-shivering. We were assured it was an affect of the anesthesia. His eyes were glassy and he was disoriented. The nurses covered him with a warm blanket, got him a coke and assured us everything was quite normal. He was doing great.

We’ve had a little family joke going about a candy bar commercial. In it, a football player takes a head hit and thinks he’s Batman.

Dad asked N, “Who are you?”

N replied, “Batman.” It was a little garbled, but we got it. We knew he was OK.

He is doing pretty good. Staunch and stoic as ever. Making the most of his situation. There was an errand run for special ice cream last night and there will be pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Food is good medicine for a teenage boy.

Yesterday was a good day, but I am glad it is behind us. All that nervous anticipation was coloring my world. Now we’ve been to the rodeo. I don't really want to go back, but if life requires, I’ll be able to finesse it better on the second trip.