I used to think that New Years Eve was a big night – lots of drink, go out somewhere good and countdown to midnight, thinking of some suitable resolutions. It’s still big(ish), but I’ve been to quite a few fairly dissapointing NYE parties/happenings/nights out and these days with the kids…..well, you get the picture.
I thought that Cliff’s description of his NYE to be sounded dreadful and that since I wasn’t working, therefore my night would be one of cheer, bonhomie, a few drinks with good friends and some witty comments about the year that has been. What a twat I was. We had the worst trip in the short history of this little family. Driving up to Widnes, we stopped at the services at Hilton Park just outside Birmingham, where Luke, following on from a dreadful lunch experience (which is normal), split his head open on the TV cabinet in the ‘kiddie-safe’ play area. Not just a small cut, but a one inch long gash on the forehead that bled and bled and bled. Off to hospital we went, where he had some superglue applied and some steristrips slapped on it to hold it together. With luck, he’ll only have a large scar that his hair will cover.
The prize for ‘Selfish Parent of the Year’ must go to the woman who wanted the play area cleared of bleeding toddlers so her angels could do their colouring. ‘Is he hurt’, enquired doting mother after gazing on Luke’s prone body, blood pouring down his face and also covering Judy who was holding him still while waiting for the ambulance. ‘Yes’, came my witty riposte. ‘Will you be long, it’s just my girls want to play’ was her reply….
I could have said lots of things, I could have railed to her that when my son’s head had stopped bleeding and the area was sterilised then her darlings could play, but Dave from Runcorn (the duty manager and first aider on the scene) summed it up better than I could. ‘It’ll be open when we’re finished, and not before. Now stand back and let the nice ambulance men work’
After we got Luke stitched up, we carried on to Widnes. Only for Mark to get a cold of biblical proportions from the kid we were visiting. One that made him snuffle, snort, and produce snot like it was going out of fashion. One that would keep him awake for hours on NYE, long enough for him to keep Luke awake until the fireworks started. Luke doesn’t like fireworks at all. They scare him so much he can wet himself with fear and cause him to whimper, weep, cry and get out of bed looking for reassurance. We tried giving it, but he wasn’t having it and in the end our hosts (pragmatic to the end, as befits parents of a child of a certain age that doesn’t fear fireworks) got ratty with us and began the cold-shoulder treatment. By 12:15 we were both in bed, but it was a long time before we both slept. Plans had been ruined, the big NYE meal was reduced to a sit on the floor jobbie with little interest from our hosts.
We were glad to get home, as were both boys. One went to his bed to sleep the sleep of the innocent, the other ran around for an hour just to make sure he was home, then collapsed in a heap. We won’t be travelling to Widnes again for a long, long time, just to avoid the shit we were given, but I expect that that won’t cause any loss of sleep on the part of either us or the lads.
You live and learn, and when you have kids you realise just how some people can’t see beyond their own agendas. We saw a few examples of just how selfish people can be, one while watching Luke bleed, one by just having their plans disturbed. Both are pretty ugly, whether from a stranger or a so-called friend.