My son was laying on the couch and said those words that all parents hate, “I’m bored.” He writhed and complained for a while. The complaining crawled up my spine as I tried to work on a new play that I’ve been writing. He wanted my attention when I didn’t want to give it. And so he lamented loudly.
My son is like so many other kids. He has too many toys, but there are times when no toy seems to fit the desired need. They want interaction. They want to be entertained. They want to be physical.
Realizing that I wasn’t going to get any work done anyway, and being attentive to my son’s need, I closed the laptop and set it aside. Then, I cleared a space on the floor and looked at him and said, “Let’s go.” Those words mean one thing in my house — a wrestling match. My son loves to wrestle more than anything else and I knew it would make his day.
We squared off and circled one another and he went in for the shoot. He grabbed my legs in an attempt to take me down, but not this time. I quickly hoisted his cinder block styled body into the air and spun him around. After setting him down, I went for my favorite hold, the cross-face chicken wing. Long time pro-wrestling fans will be familiar with this hold because it was made famous by the legendary 70’s superstar, Bob Backlund. I had my son’s back, but he fought through, spun around, sat on my chest and began his version of ground and pound. He’s allowed to hit me in the chest and stomach but not the face. And before children’s services pay me a visit, no child is harmed in our wrestling matches, only dads.
Our match went back and forth with both of us trying MMA moves such as the Kimora, rear Naked Choke, Omoplata, and Triangle Choke. We also used pro-wrestling moves such as The Sleeper, Body Press, and my personal favorite, the Von Erich Iron Claw.
Time went by as we sweated and tossed one another around. Occasionally, foreign objects in the form of pillows and stuffed animals came into the equation. (I bet the Hard Core Wrestling Legend *Mick Foley never thought of using The Dreaded Goose Down Feather Pillow.) As my body was telling me it was time to quit, I looked up at the clock and realized that we had been wrestling for over an hour. We were both exhausted. I stood up and he once again shot for my legs. This time I folded like a wet blanket and crumpled to the floor. He covered me and got the three count. Our Iron Man match had come to an end and his boredom was cured. We hugged and told each other “I love you.” He ran off to play with some toys, his boredom cured, while I slumped against the coach. Hoisting him up in the air was much harder than it used to be.
My playwriting goal was not accomplished for the day, but it was time better spent. He’ll be 9 in a couple of months and then soon he’ll be 18. I doubt he’ll let me wrestle with him then. But, if I ever hear him say, “I’m bored,” I’ll say, “Let’s go.” Most likely he will roll his eyes.
I thought about that as he walked away and I smiled to myself.
Then, from another room, I heard the running feet of my daughter and the words, “Let’s Go!” I pulled myself up and gave her a sneer and she shot in for my legs. She failed to take me down, and I lifted her into the air. And so began Iron Man match number 2.
*By the way, Mick Folley is one of my all-time favorite dads to read about. Anyone willing to take the red eye back home and stuff their big swollen knees and bad back into a cramped airplane seat to spend extra time with their family is alright in my book.