In our early years together I named this litany of unfortunate events the Trauma Tour. Everywhere we went he had a story to tell: car into tree, drug-addled assault, slow and lonely decay. I endured it, sometimes even with affection for the tragic contents of my loved one’s brain.
Until we had kids. Lately I’ve tried to press upon Captain Daddy that perhaps chickens ages two and four do not need to be told ghastly and terrifying true tales on a daily basis. And I can’t take it like I used to—the tender mother in me suffers everyone’s pain.
Nevertheless, the Trauma Tour continues. An average morning around here kind of goes like this:
Captain Daddy suddenly exclaims: “A drowning!” Chicken Little ambles over. “Where, Daddy?” He points to the newspaper, explaining a fall, a sweeping away, as if this conversation with his two-year-old is perfectly normal.
I gesture in exasperation. “If you must share,” I say, “Try to leave the chickens out of it. Just spell things.”
The next day, he tries. “A p-i-t-b-u-l-l attacked and mauled a three-year-old over in the valley.”
“Wrong words, Captain,” I advise. “Try the verbs.”
And God forbid anyone should ever ask him how his day at work was.
Today, after 14 years of listening to tales of tragedy, I finally have figured out something to do with them. Captain Daddy and I have a (chicken-free) lunch date to discuss the most horrifying, ugly, ghastly details of the worst car accident he’s ever seen.
Why? Research for my novel.
This just may be a turning point in our relationship.