Monday, May 27, 2013

Rocks & Remorse

On Friday night, we went to the University of Utah v Oregon baseball game with friends. We were invited to gather there for our friends' son's birthday party. The weather was nice, the game was bad (Oregon dominated the entire time), the ice cream was good. The teams played at the Salt Lake Bees stadium which has a great play area for kids and a train ride they can enjoy.

Matthew was sitting on my lap and Garrett was over playing with the older kids in the play area which is in the outfield. We were on the third base line. Suddenly, a bunch of boys ran up yelling and hollering that Seth (the sixth grade son of our friends) had been hit by a rock and he was bleeding and it was all at the hands of that Garrett kid.

I blinked in what felt like slow motion.

"Garrett?" I said stupidly. "Garrett? Are you sure?" See, Garrett doesn't throw rocks at people. Especially his friends. Matthew, sure. He's been known to nearly take out a ten-year-old with a rock to the head but Garrett? He's my passive child. Also, the kid doesn't really have a very good arm. (Again, Matthew, yes.)

We all went running and, as we headed toward the outfield, Garrett came to meet us. He saw us and burst into wracking sobs. "I'm so sorry! I didn't mean for it to happen! It was an accident. I'm sorry. Do you forgive me? I feel horrible. I've never felt more horrible in my entire life." His sentences tumbled out of his mouth, one on top of the other with no space between.

As I rounded the corner I saw a crowd of people--at least twelve--huddled around Seth. It took me a second to get a good look at him through the group. He was in the arms of a random lady, sobbing uncontrollably. Believe me when I tell you that he was absolutely covered in blood. It appeared to be pouring from a golf ball sized egg just above his eyebrow. He face and hands were coated in blood.

Thankfully, his mom's a nurse. Also thankfully, his parents are a lot like we are. "Toughen up. Let's see what we're really dealing with here. Calm down." We got Seth to the bathroom where we were able to get all the blood washed away. His mom had already determined that it wasn't deep and wouldn't need stitches. Once the excess blood was gone and he'd calmed down, all that was left was a huge egg with a cut that, sure enough, didn't require a needle and thread.

I kept apologizing profusely.

Everyone kept telling me that it was an accident. These things happen. Blah blah blah.

"If Garrett's telling the truth," I said.

It didn't take long to fit everyone's stories together. Seth and his little brother had gotten into a fight. Garrett had gone to the defense of the younger brother (who is still older than Garrett and probably didn't need his help). "Get outta here! Leave him alone!" Garrett had yelled at his sixth grade friend because Garrett has high ego strength and doesn't know that you don't try to pick a fight with a kid five years older than you. When no one listened to him (go figure), Garrett picked up a rock. His intention (confirmed by eye witnesses) was to chuck it at a nearby tree. Angrily. To show everyone that he meant business and they'd better leave his friend alone.

He threw the rock. A combination of poor aim and the fact that Seth turned and took a step straight into the oncoming rock made for a bloody outcome.

Seth spent the last two innings sitting in a chair with an ice pack on his wound.

Garrett spent them crying.

And he whimpered himself to sleep that night.

We explained that he was lucky the rock hadn't hit Seth an inch lower and taken out his eye. We told him that we never, ever, throw rocks in the vicinity of people.

We saw Seth at church yesterday. He was back to his normal self with only a Band-aid over his eyebrow to tell his tale.

And, with any luck at all, Garrett learned an important lesson.

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