Falling for you

This evening, I was watching my kids fail miserably at climbing the cottonwood in our back yard when I found myself saying, “Let me show you boys how to really climb a tree.”

I’ve uttered these exact words before but it was over a decade ago.

Bush was our president, I wasn’t a dad and it was the 4th of July. I’d been drinking since before the parade that morning and I invited this girl I’d recently started dating to a barbeque at a friend’s house. Me and the girl weren’t very serious yet but as I recall, I was already madly and unabashedly in love with her. She came, we drank more, much irresponsible fun was had.

Then there were these kids climbing a tree, or rather they were failing miserably at climbing a tree.

“Let me show you boys how to really climb a tree.” I said.

So I scaled some 10 feet up the side of this cottonwood before it occured to me that I had been drinking already for several hours and perhaps that was not a great combination with the sort of arial feat that I was currently attempting. I climbed down and patted myself on the back for being so responsible.

This is when the girl I’d brought with me decided to chime in.

“You call that climbing a tree?” She said. She had also been drinking for several hours.

“Let me show you boys how to really climb a tree.” She said.

“This,” I thought to myself, “is a terrible idea.”

But I didn’t say a word, I just stepped aside and watched her climb. It truly was a thing of beauty. To watch her maneuver her way up the side of that cottonwood I could have sworn she was part monkey. Then before I knew it, she’d made the first limb, some 35 feet in the air.

I was at the base of the tree with my buddy James, looking nervously at him while we both held our arms out while anticipating that gravity would kick in at any moment.

“Seriously,” I said to the girl, “come down here right now.”

And she did.

She lost her footing on the limb and she fell from nearly seven times her own height. She tumbled down towards the ground and landed with a dull thud right into my buddy James.

James is a big guy, like a muscular pillow. He’s the kind of guy you want below you if you fall out of a tree; and thank god he was there.

She lost conciousness for just a moment after hitting her head on the limb during the fall. I rushed over to her and pleaded with her to wake up, told her that I loved her and that she couldn’t die.

She opened her eyes. I kissed her. We went to the E.R.

The doctors checked her out and amazingly she was ok; just a lot of scrapes and bruises. Nine months later we were married, James was my best man.

I think about that moment alot, how if not for my friend I wouldn’t have the wife and kids that I so cherrish, that are my very reason for existing.

These kids wouldn’t be dressing up as space pirates.
This kid wouldn’t be bedazzling half chewed dog bones with glitter and flashing this weird smile.
And this beautiful woman wouldn’t have had the chance to be the amazing mom that she is.

James and I still talk frequently but it’s been too long and I need to call him in the morning. I need to tell him thanks, for catching the falling girl that I fell in love with.