Wildman is Turning 9 Without the Handcuffs


So Wildman, who is our baby, is turning 9. I can not believe he made it this far. Maybe the helmet helped or maybe the float he loved to wear while playing in the yard (just in case a wave came). He has walked to his own beat of the drums I can not hear. He is unique beyond common adjectives used to describe boys.

Thinking of the years gone by and all the adventures we have been through and survived, reminds me of the handcuffs last summer.

What was I thinking? I left for an hour. I should know better. Who needs groceries? I came through the front door one day last June to find the 21 year old, the 16 year old sitting on the couch, and Wildman – handcuffed. You know when you see something and you are not sure what it is?

My first reaction was to yell, ” I leave for one hour and you guys can not even watch him!” ” What in the world!!”  Well, the 21 year old (Princess) says, “He did it once and the key unlocked them!”  And the 16 year old (Flash) says, “He’s been handcuffed for about 45 minutes now and we didn’t want to call you because we didn’t want you to worry.” Um, okay.

So let’s backup a bit. My father, Wildman’s grandfather, gave him the REAL handcuffs and keys earlier that month. He thought he would get a kick out of them, and apparently I was on another planet because I wasn’t paying attention.

The handcuffs had gotten very tight. I mean very. The more he pulled on them the tighter they got. The key was NOT working. I tried pliers, I tried a paperclip. I guess they don’t work or most prisoners would be able to give them the slip. Right? So I call my husband who did not answer because he is always in a never-ending meeting. By the way, he is Wildman #1. So it’s probably his fault.

So I call my dad.

Me: Hey, Dad. Riley is handcuffed. (Then I start laughing because I honestly can not believe what I just said.)
Dad: Okay.
Me: I can not get them off and the key doesn’t work.
Dad: What do you want me to do?
Me: I want you to come home from work and get them off!
Dad: I will when I get off.
(Did I mention that it’s 2:00 and he gets off at 5:00????)
Me: I am driving to the fire department.
Dad: Don’t do that. Use butter.
Me: “click”

By now, Wildman is crying hysterically. Flash is bringing in the cutters you use to trim branches and is heading toward Wildman. Princess’ eyes are popping out. He walks over to Wildman and cuts the chain that connects the two handcuffs! Just like on a movie! Okay so now he can move his arms and this seems to be a little better. Then I remember, Wildman is suppose to have a friend come over. So I call the friend’s Mom and calmly like a boss I tell her I’m sorry her son can not come over because Wildman is handcuffed. After an extended silence she says, “Sure, okay then.” I mean isn’t this just completely normal?

My Dad appears at the back door. Obviously he must have thought it was an emergency after all! He of course tries the key and then needle nose pliers. Nothing works. Apparently the key has stripped the keyhole area and will not work. Wildman is crying and hiccuping, “I am gonna live like this forEVVEERR.” Flash is on the floor laughing. Princess is fanning herself.

So my Dad announces he is taking Wildman with him. Now just to let you know my Dad’s property connects with mine. Which is convenient in times like these. But after they were gone for like 25 minutes which felt like two hours…I got worried.

So I walk up to my Dads house to find them in the shop. Wildman has a towel wrapped around his hand and my Dad is holding a handheld power saw in one hand and Wildman’s arm in the other. He says, “Don’t move at all.” While Wildman is shaking like someone naked in a blizzard. This is not something Moms like to witness. I mean it was always my dream to walk up and see my Dad holding a power saw to my son’s wrist. For real.

Now I will add a footnote that my Dad is a machinist by trade. He is very good with all sorts of machines and is very skilled. I know what you are thinking…. but still.

I hold Wildman to me and while his hand is wrapped in the towel, and while the buzzing loudness of freedom rings, my Dad cuts handcuff number one… off. Then number two. I don’t know who is shaking worst. Me, Dad, or Wildman. I will refrain from telling you exactly where and how he cut it just in case any would be felony people are reading this. It’s a trade secret. Just saying.

Later that night. When everyone was “grounded for life”, and all was quiet, my Dad dropped by with a gift for Wildman. A piece of handcuff he had made in to a necklace. With a note: Never forget how these felt on your wrist. Stay out of trouble and you will never wear them again.



(Wildman after Flash cut the chain off.)


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