Younger Son has always gravitated toward drama from the time he could talk. Sometimes I think I’m living in a soap opera with him. He’s worse than a teenage girl. His more dramatic complaints of choice have often centered around his health. When he was little, he was so bad that I finally gave up and said, “Honey, you can’t help it. You suffer from hypochondria.” This explanation made him happy, and for years, he told everyone, “I can’t help it. I have hypochondria.” He was less than happy when he found out what the word “hypochondria” meant.

So, when he came home from football practice on Tuesday and announced he had jammed his fingers, I ignored him, as usual. He always has some ache, pain, or imagined injury from football. My feeling is that pain goes with the territory of being a football player, so he should just suck it up. After all, in the last game, he “blacked out” (or so he said) after being rammed in the head by another player. Since he never actually passed out on the field, I dismissed this complaint, as well. So, in the big scheme of things, jamming his fingers didn’t sound all that serious, and I forgot about it as soon as he mentioned it. That was until his coach sent us a message on Wednesday that we needed to get Younger Son’s hand X-rayed.

Being the dutiful mother that I am, I put aside everything I had to do Wednesday afternoon and picked Younger Son up from school to get the requisite X-ray to satisfy the coach and release the school from all liability. As Younger Son climbed into the car, I looked at his hand. Yep, it was swollen, all right. Wow, it was really swollen.

“Does it hurt?” I asked.

“Not really,” he replied. “Only a little when I push right here.” He indicated an area in the middle of his puffy hand.

“Okay, so it’s probably not broken or it would hurt a lot more.” I wasn’t worried. It was probably just a soft tissue injury, a sprain or bruise, that a little ibuprofen would fix.

We went to the urgent care clinic to get the X-ray, and after the doctor mashed on Younger Son’s hand without him screeching like a banshee, I still wasn’t overly concerned. That is until the X-ray technician brought Younger Son back to the exam room and said, “I’m pretty sure it’s broken, but the doctor will look at the X-ray to confirm.” Okay, I’m not stupid. (No need to contradict me here.) If the X-ray technician who knows what normal and abnormal radiographs look like because she does this job all day said Younger Son’s hand was broken, it didn’t take a rocket scientist or a doctor to confirm her findings.

Sure enough, his 3rd metacarpal sported an obvious oblique fracture. Now maternal guilt set in. I’d blown off Younger Son’s complaint the evening before because it was just one more example of his long history with drama. Besides, after the brief mention of the injury, he hadn’t said anything about it again. And, in my defense, a person can only “cry wolf” so many times before his mother tunes him out. But, in all seriousness, Younger Son declined to drive to school today, so I knew his situation was really bad.

So, this afternoon, we have an appointment with the orthopedic specialist who will undoubtedly declare Younger Son out of football for the rest of the season. Or, in his case, the rest of his short career as a high school senior. Do you know how much this hurts? Do you know how many football games Hubby and I have attended during Younger Son’s stint as a water boy and a bench warmer? Finally, when Younger Son gets his shot at being recruited by the NFL and bringing glory and honor to his parents who have put up with him all these years, he gets sidelined. It makes me want to put my fist through a wall. But one broken hand in the family is enough.