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On Your Father's Side  

Shouldering the load

His TV is on the fritz. The man reaches under the credenza to unplug the set, wait 30 seconds, and plug it back into the wall.

His shoulder warns him not to stay crouched in that position too long, holding his plug waiting for miracles to happen.

The man is reaching into the back seat now to help the toddler buckle her seat belt.

His shoulder lures him into a false sense of security.

It doesn’t hurt until it’s too late to move anywhere. He is wedged between two front seats, sitting partially on the centre console and grabbing the seatbelt.

There’s nowhere to move. The seatbelt is wrapped around a child’s car seat.

That combination is immovable. It’s the same technology they use to help fighter jets land on aircraft carriers.

He endures the pain, and juts forward. He jiggles the belt loose from its hook. As he’s falling, he clicks the buckle into the belt and collapses.

Ethan Hunt could not have survived this Impossible Mission any better.

The man grabs the passenger’s seat, and hoists himself upright again. He grabs his shoulder and gasps.

“Arrgghh!”

“Daddy, are you OK?” the middle child asks.

“No, no, I am not.”

“Oh, it’s his shoulder,” her older sister realizes.

Not to be left out, the “baby” confirms the diagnosis. “Yeah, him’s sholdah.”

The man is at work now. He picks up a copy of the newspaper and eventually lands on the sports section. He reads about a local Masters Soccer League and realizes his calendar might just have room for a triumphant return to the pitch.

He scans for names of people he recognizes, from the time long ago when he was free to run and jump and play.

He looks at the picture, and sees men like him straining and stretching to score, or save.

They look graceful, nearly poetic, captured mid-stride.

Then he remembers why he doesn’t play any more. He remembers duplicating moves like the ones in the photo, and how much it actually hurt.

By the end of his “Masters Soccer Career” five years ago, his feet had blistered over. His knees ached. His back seized. Sneezing was fraught with danger.

The man decides that if he’s to undergo that challenge again, he’d better play for a team sponsored by a brewery. Not for the beer (well, kind of for the beer), but for the extra ice they send along in the coolers.

Getting old is hard work. It’s painful, and I still have at least, like, seven good years left in me.

What are those going to be like?

I keep finding new body parts to injure. I didn’t play much golf or tennis growing up, so my rotator cuffs went through life relatively unscathed.

Then, kids.

For about a month, Emmy refused to walk anywhere. She’d stubbornly hide in the back of the minivan whenever we dropped or collected her sisters from school.

The only thing that satisfied her was a piggyback ride.

To get her out of the car and across the school playing field, I had to carry her. She has the gripping power of a sack of P.E.I. potatoes, with the weight to match.

She’d alternately grab my throat and slide off my back.

To prevent her from falling, I’d stretch my arms as far back as possible and grab her legs. I couldn’t just hold her behind the knees, because her legs were not long enough.

It went like this for several days. Two months later, I can’t sleep on my right side.

The pain radiates through my upper arm down to the elbow.

Telling people I have a rotator cuff injury sounds cool, like I’m a Major League Baseball player.

In reality, it’s some of the worst pain I’ve experienced. You reach and reach and reach with nothing and then SNAP! It takes me a 90 seconds to recover from the most mild irritation.

You try to avoid reaching behind you, but do you know how much important stuff is behind you?

Reach to turn off the alarm clock? Snap! Reach to put on your jacket, snap! Reach back to snap your kids… oh, right, that’s where we started this whole thing.

Using a keyboard and mouse feels somehow like I’m flying a fighter jet. My grip is weak.

The exercises my physiotherapist gave me will need four to six weeks of continued work to be most effective.

Easy. With three kids, and a few part-time jobs, I’ll have plenty of time to squeeze that into my schedule.

Right between soccer games and seatbelts.

It’s obvious what this means, I need a new TV.

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About the Author

David Trifunov is a proud father, humble author and recovering journalist.

Trifunov and his wife, Erin, are raising three little girls in Kelowna and enjoying every second of the trials, triumphs and tribulations.

As a humble author, he has written three middle-grade books for publisher Formac-Lorimer.

To pay the bills so he can raise those kids and write those books, Trifunov is a journalist with 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor.

His parenting column will appear regularly. davidtrifunov.ca



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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