Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sailing Ships...

Him: "I just want to hang on to whatever time left we have to do things as a family"
Me: "I think that ship may have sailed honey."
Him: "No.  No it hasn't.  I refuse... you're coming with us."
Me: "So even if I'm not on the ship, but the rope is wrapped around my ankle, and you're dragging me behind it?"
Him: "Yup.  You're coming with us."

A year.  It's been a year since my last post.  When I left you last, Youngest was a Freshman, navigating the halls of High School, Oldest a Sophomore wrestling with first love, Bonus Boy, the step son, was struggling against the tide of adulthood. It seems like a lifetime ago.

Sunday is our 7th wedding anniversary, and remarkably, neither one of us is itchy in the slightest.  We are still in love most days, but more importantly, genuinely still liking each other.  And while it's been only 7 years, the last 15 years we've enjoyed each other's company is something in itself to be content with.  Our relationship has changed considerably since the boys were 1, 2, and 8 ish.  The everyday all consuming tasks of parenthood have been replaced by independence and self sufficiency.  This of course means that while we've done a relatively good job in raising decent human beings, it leaves us with gaping holes in the fabric of our everyday, that honestly I am having a tough time mending.

BBoy is full time at the grocery store where he works.  Last year, we took him to the dealership and he bought, off the lot, his first car. Shortly after that he got promoted to supervisor, and about 2 months ago he moved out of his mother's into an apartment with friends, about 20 minutes from here. While slow, it seems that once the ball of adulthood started to roll, it caught some momentum. He'll be 24 on Saturday and he finally seems happy.  Now if we could just get him to cut that hair of his and maybe get a shave....

Oldest and I have been touring colleges as he starts his Senior year in eight days. While he will likely apply via the common ap to 6 colleges just to increase his options, he has narrowed it down to his top two, Worcester Poly Tech and Wentworth. He is planning a major in Mechanical or Civil Engineering, with a minor in college girls and off campus parties, because that is how he gets a rise out of me. He forgets as he throws out these off-handed, instigating comments about prospective college life, his instinctual decisions have more to do with academics and structure, so in my heart I know he'll be fine.

He earned his varsity letter for Track in javelin last year and continues to make the honor roll.  He has had his heart broken several times in the last year, mostly by girls that were not right for him, and once by one who was. The road of relationships is long and winding with many potholes and avalanches along the way, unfortunately you have to get hit by a lot of rocks before you learn to look up, duck, cover, and sometimes get off the road all together.   He's working two jobs this summer, and he's struggling to balance time with friends, the jobs, summer school work, and his own interests. I rarely see him to be honest, and when I do it's to ask if I'm cooking dinner.

And in roughly 80 days he will no longer be a child.  My first baby will be 18.

Youngest, on the other hand is 16, and oh what a full year he has had.  He won a $500 scholarship as runner up for the National Boys and Girls Club Youth Of The Year.  He got his permit and is slowly, ever so slowly, learning to drive.  He has a girlfriend, at least I think that's where this friendship is going, because he doesn't say much and what he does say is an incoherent mumble.  He earned his second year on the Varsity wrestling team last year, and continues to wrestle for a private club.  He works out 3 hours a day and recently completed 2 of the three races in a Spartan Trifecta.  If you're not familiar, a Spartan race is an extreemly hard core mud/obstacle race varying in lengths of 3-13 miles long.  It's insane and he loves every second of them.

He finished his Eagle Project and is now an Eagle Scout.  His Scout friends are following suit and I suspect that he'll stick with it until his friends are also done or until he ages out.  He and I are starting to tour colleges next week.  His career choices have ranged from Plumber to Armed Forces, and from Engineer  to Sports Science.  Also under consideration is the ever popular, but less profitable Hobo Studies, also known as riding the rails and eating tuna from a can. Most likely he'll fall somewhere in the middle, working his way through a local, affordable college as a plumber's apprentice, and then getting a job working for Spartan designing obstacles for insane races world wide, thus seeing the world, but being able to afford the good tuna from a pouch rather than a rusty can.  In the meantime, he is also working two jobs over the summer, trudging through school summer work, balancing friends, wrestling, finishing driver's education, and random scout outings.

Which brings me back full circle to the ship sailing on family fun.  The husband bought these concert tickets months ago.  Months before coordinating 4 jobs of the two in house boys and the full time wacky retail schedule of the one who doesn't live here. Months before we both had a new Postmaster, new supervisors, and new rules of taking time off. Months before we all had these enormous things on our plates and we forgot all about said tickets.

But there there were.  Real tickets, not even eTickets, sitting right there on the table. Which lead me to booking a hotel, the boys coordinating their schedules, and rearranging appointments.  It was quite a big deal, but it was doable. 

And then, five days before, I was not given the time off.

And I was left with the choice of going, or not.

I struggled with this for days.  So much so that I flaired my diverticulitis and had to switch to a nearly all liquid diet for 3 days.  I considered not going at all, which the husband wanted no part of.  Regardless, this ship was sailing, and in the end I really wanted to be on it. 

So I went.  We took 2 cars.  Youngest rode with me down and we talked the whole way. Real, articulated words.  The two hours flew by.  I drove back just after midnight with BBoy and Oldest in tow.  Oldest just wanted to sleep in his own bed and I think BBoy just wanted to be home as well. Husband and Youngest stayed the night, a smart choice on their part since the husband had been up for 22 hours, and Youngest knew there was no breakfast food at home. They arrived home, after gorging themselves on the casino's buffet, around one that afternoon. As for me, I had about 3 hours of sleep before heading back to work all day, in oppressive weather, worsened by the easy-bake-oven of a mail truck I deliver out of for 5 hours a day.

It was less than awesome.

But as I think back, looking down the row of them all singing together, containing themselves just short of dancing in the seats, it was worth strapping myself to the sail of this family's ship, regardless of where we we go, or how rough the seas may be when I get home.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Maybe It WAS Fate...

I can still remember the first time I saw him.  He was standing by the 14 foot windows of the old rope mill - now a converted mall - smoking a cigarette.  Now that would be unheard of, but back then it was the first thing teenagers did to rebel, and there he stood, his back to me, his silhouette enveloped in swirls of smoke as the sun slunk away from the sky.

He worked in the food court and I worked downstairs in one of the retail shops.  It got quite quiet at night so there was plenty of time to chit chat and visit.  He was known for making the sloshy slushies  for his friends upon request. He was the typical broken and troubled teen that somehow I thought I could fix.  We dated.  He treated me like crap.  We broke up.  He came around again.  We dated some more, he still treated me like crap, and eventually he moved on to an older girl from a prestigious family with money.  Looking back I guess he was always chasing the higher standard of living, like somehow having an association or money would make it better.  It never did of course, and that relationship, not unlike all the others, imploded leaving him in search of another proverbial horse to hitch his cart to.

Four years later we met up again, 1200 miles from home through weird job transfers.  It was as simple as becoming roommates for convenience, except 5 months later we were engaged, and 7 months later we were married.  I thought it was what I should be doing at the time.  We lived together, I had fixed some of what was broken still after all these years, I could provide stability and strength.  I was all of only 20 years old, but I could do this.  He was 23, eventually he'd stop drinking.  We'd settle down together, build a life, together. After all....It was fate that brought us back together.

Except that it wasn't. Meeting up with him wasn't fate at all.  It was not fate that we chose to move in together, it was convenience.  It was not divine intervention that allowed me to be treated like crap, verbally abused, and cheated on... God doesn't work that way.  And it sure as hell wasn't the right thing to do because "I had reached that age"... I was 21 frigging years old. Twenty One.

Today we would have been married 21 years and 2 days.  I can't even imagine what my life would have been like had I chosen to stay. I have no idea what roller coaster my boys would have been on had he not passed away six years ago.  I know that they would undoubtedly be making different choices now and my relationship with them would be different.  I don't know how, but I know it would be.

Oldest started seeing a girl about a month ago and already has strong feelings for her.  He's much like me in that respect, so I can't dismiss it, nor would I want to.  We feel what we feel, and that's never wrong, it just is the way it is.  She is a sweet girl, and this being her first relationship he is taking things at her pace, trying to respect her boundaries.  He's putting in a lot of effort.  They don't see each other too often, mostly because of her mother, who can be a bit overbearing so I'm told.  I met her, she seems nice, but I understand that relationships between mother and daughter can be complicated.  Tonight was her 16th birthday.  Her family threw her a surprise party at a hall.  Now, while I understand that Oldest had time to think about the festivities, she did not, and so her being overwhelmed and spending time with her family and friends is understandable.  But she spent no time with him.  None.  In fact, she was scared the whole night to even spend time with him even at her friend's urging,  because she's afraid to tell her mother they are dating.  She didn't even tell him that, he had to hear it from her friends.

He. Was. Pissed.

He spent a lot of time picking out a beautiful sterling silver bangle bracelet for her, that he paid his own, good money for.  It was a gift he had hoped to give her if they found a few moments alone together.  Instead, he ended up throwing it on the table with all the others.  He hung with his friends, ate cake, and came out within 30 seconds of getting my "I'm here" text from the parking lot.

My heart breaks for him as I'm listening to the story, because as much as it is his, it is mine as well.  Staying in it because you feel a connection, and never getting what you need in return.  Afraid to give an ultimatum, not because of not wanting the answer, but because that's just not who you are.  Putting in way more time and effort, and getting every logical, and semi-logical, excuse in return. But of course, I can't tell him that because he has to be the one to figure it out. And if he's anything like his mother, he will do it the hard way.  My heart is breaking for him, not just because I am his mother, but because I know exactly how he feels. I will undoubtedly watch him give her chance after chance, offer support, walk away from other friends and opportunities to make himself available, try so hard with her mother to fix the brokenness between them, and in the end, get his heart broken... just like his father did to me.

I don't know why I chose the men I did.  I don't know why I didn't insist I was worth more.  And I have no idea why I chose to sugar coat such a crucial period of my life with labels like "divine intervention" and "fate."  All I can do now for him is to gently remind him that while he has to work through it on his own, he deserves more.

And maybe that's where it all comes in. That in the end, it was not fate that brought his farther and I together, but fate that I became his mother. That I have been destined to sit here while he sulks in his room, typing away at a keyboard, trying to pull a positive thread from an otherwise heartbreaking situation.

That it was fate that gave me to him... for moments like these.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

And Then There Was Quiet....

The thing about life is that it gets.... busy.

Mr. Chewey passed on.  Carpet was ripped out, hardwood floors were put down. I spun off to NYC for a weekend with the girls, and school let out. Spring came along with a LOT of rain, and skipped into Summer and a LOT of humidity. There's been off season wrestling training camp four nights a week, drop offs and pick ups at the gym, binge watching, and unsupervised parties on the beach, Oldest had his first dinner date and his now first girlfriend. There was a canoe trip on the river, I slept in my first tent, and Oldest is already back to work for the summer, and itching for his driver's license. It's been a virtual tornado of life moving on around here.

For two years I have been the Committee Chair for Youngest's Boy Scout Troop. On Monday I passed the torch on. And while I am still moderately involved, I have never slept better knowing that it no longer all falls to me.

For the last 18 months I have helped plan a wedding for a friend.  I am a very detailed person, and as we all know, weddings are about the details.... those tiny details that you only remember looking back in the photographs after the love coma has worm off. Apparently, I was the only one who saw these details when the day finally came last Saturday, as evidenced by my last minute moving of tables and my wielding of decorative ribbons to tie everything together.  Even the bug spray was wrapped in bows. The bride is still blissfully happy about how everything turned out, and I am just happy it's over. The bride and her groom will soon be back to fighting about everything they were mad about last week, but no one will be talking about the tables covered in caterpillar poop (thanks to me), and I will not be tying any more favor tagged bows on sparklers. As that too came to an abrupt end this past weekend.

There is something tremendously freeing about letting go of things.  While I was MIA convincing the bride that she really did want to get married a second time, the husband was busy being me.  Driving this one, picking up that one, answering the random texts for shredded cheese, and the never ending "What's for dinner?" plea. The three of them worked together to make sure that everything got done... without me... and that's okay.

Today I as I drove Youngest to wrestling camp I thought of how in just 22 days I'll be putting him on a bus to West Virginia along with thousands of other Scouts to build a city in the mountains, at only 15 years old.  I came home to the husband painting the house, Oldest washing the car... his car... which despite it's lack of an aux cord connection, is a huge step towards his independence.  Still lacking his license, I drove him to the girlfriend's house while youngest stayed home, sparks flying all around him as he ground down a part for the car that in roughly 15 months he will share with his brother.  I came home to find him MIG welding the legs back onto the picnic table. He only melted a few holes in his shirt, because while he may be decked out in dense, heavy, leather gloves and the finest of welding masks, he often still forgets the tiny details, like polyester is highly flammable. 

Life moves pretty fast. The days are already getting shorter.  I think often about sitting here, documenting it all for prosperity, but somehow my fingers never make it to the key board.  I'm too busy, too tired, from living it to reflect on it.

And now, suddenly I find myself standing in the aftermath of the storm, the winds died off, and there's a quiet peacefulness... finally.  My schedule is clear from now to mid August. No projects to start, no events to plan, no reasons to hurry out of work.

It's just quiet.

Nothing to do but watch from my Adirondack chair, the people I've supported for years, carry on around me by themselves,  doing things far more impressive than I could have ever hoped. And maybe, after a good long nap in that chair, I'll drag out the new lap top and finally get around to document it all.

Stay tuned...



Sunday, March 26, 2017

That's Him... He's The One...

I don't know why he was sent back to the pound not once, but twice, before we wandered in.  We had been looking for a pet to complete our family, someone for Youngest to take care of, to help him learn empathy, compassion.

My list was simple, spayed, of course, and declawed.  Having worked with the Humane Society before, I am not an advocate for de-clawing, and would never have it done, but practically speaking I knew that having 4 and 5 year old boys and a cat with claws was not a good idea. Lastly, I wanted an older cat.  Everyone loves the kittens, but the older ones, they sit the longest and are most often put down.  And the realist in me was only up for a 6 or 7 year commitment.

We sat in a little room, my boys tearing through it like caged animals themselves, while one by one, our "choices" were brought in.  Three females, some long hair, some short, all good tempered, and all uninterested in the crazy kids descending upon them wanting to hold and pet them.  The last one they brought in was a 6 year old, short hair tiger cat. He growled.  He hissed.  He had a large patch of fur missing from his back.  Apparently, some cats, not unlike myself, rip out their own hair when stressed out.  He spent most of the time hiding in the corner under the bench of the little room.  I don't even think the boys held him.  But as we left, Youngest knew.  I tried to dissuade him, said we'd come back in a week, but no.

"He's our cat. This one."

So, here we are not 6 years later, but 11 years.  ELEVEN.  This May, Mr. Chewey Cat will be 17, which roughly translates to 84 in people years.  His hair grew back after a few short months and I don't think he's even so much as hissed at us since, despite being carried around like a baby, stuffed in pillowcases, and trapped under laundry baskets. At times I think the boys treated him more like a baby brother than an animal.  He greets everyone as they arrive by crawling into their lap and attempting to eat their jewelry. He refuses to leave the house, taking two steps out the back door only to run back in as soon as the opportunity arises. He prefers his car rides out of the carrier, so he can take in the sights, just so long as his paws don't get dirty.  When he was 12 we discovered he has an intolerance to gluten, just like Youngest and myself, forcing us to put him on only wet food.  Because of this, when we vacation we have people stay at the house, and he has convinced even the strictest dog-only humans into trying the cat-nip.

He is, simply, one of a kind.

In October we noticed some changes in his behavior and I brought him to the vet.  I assumed he was diabetic, or maybe it was his thyroid, but no.  He is in early stage Kidney Failure.  We changed his food, had his teeth cleaned, and while this helped slightly, last week he stared showing other signs.  Going through bowls of water, an ammonia smell from his mouth, decreased appetite, excessive snuggling, and the husband's favorite, peeing behind the couch. His numbers revealed that he is now in Stage 2. We pumped him full of fluids, gave him anti nausea meds twice this week, and while the first round helped, the second seemed ineffective. I've moved the litter box to his choice area in the living room, not that it helps much, as he is literally standing in it while peeing over the side onto the pee pads.  I change the pee pads in the living room now like I am changing diapers.  I have ripped out the carpet padding in that corner and thrown it away.  When the weather improves a bit I will be cutting out that section of the carpet and washing it outside.  I suppose the only upside is that we were planning to replace it in August anyway.  I burn candles, have air fresheners, and am considering buying stock in Fabreeze.

We estimate, based on his numbers, he has six months to a year.  I've done a ton of research and I am not comfortable waiting until he goes to stage 4.  Renal Failure is not pretty in it's late stages, and quite frankly, it's a horrible way to die.  I will watch his symptoms and follow his lead, but we all know his time is coming to an end.  Until then, he will snuggle to the point of annoyance, I will spend a small fortune on prescription food, and change the pee pads.

I have no idea why two other families gave him away, and at times when I was at my wits end with him, I could understand why they would have.  But over the last few days I have come to appreciate that they did, and I can not imagine our home without him.  His absence will leave a hole, much larger than the cat door in the basement.

One that just may never be able to be filled.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

It's Still Good...

I had most of February vacation off with the kids, including the big one, who's aspirations for his vacation week amounted to basically nothing.  It started off productive enough... bought a dryer, installed a light in the downstairs stairway, the basics.  By Tuesday night I found myself eating just the colorful marshmallows from the rest of the box of Lucky Charms and realized this might be the least productive stay cation we've ever had.  Even Mr. Chewey got lazy with us...


So we moved onto March and the onset of the Lent season.  As we all know, I am not much of the religious sort, but I do try to better myself in some way during lent in the hopes that I can grow as a person and learn some discipline.  Some years it works, some years it doesn't. One year I gave up carbs.  I lost 40 pounds. Two years ago I gave up my enjoyment of snow... we got seven feet of the white stuff and I can safely say I hate it now.  Last year I gave up all things Donald Trump.  That didn't work out so well since we will now all be inundated with him for the next 4 years.

This year I decided to de-clutter my life. Now, as a general rule I am not much of a consumer.  After spending 17 years in some form of retail the last thing I want to do is wonder the mall.  Combine that with a tiny house with one closet, and there's not much room for things we don't need. And yet, somehow, it accumulates.  So I set out on making a list...

Clean out the kitchen utensils.
Clean under the bed.
Purge the DVDs.
Purge old emails and the FB friends list.

The list goes on to include the fridge and freezer, the attic and garage are broken over two days, you get the idea.  I can't say that I'm getting to something everyday, but I am about 15 through the list, so I've got that going for me.

I started with the smaller ones and am working my way to the larger ones.  On the first day I cleaned out the antique secretary and found 6 rolls of scotch tape and enough light bulbs to last until my grandchildren have grandchildren.  Exhausted from that day's clean out, I opted for a quick and easy dinner and grabbed some steam fresh veggies from the freezer.  Staring mindlessly into the microwave as they cooked, I grabbed a bowl and got ready to eat the delicious array of veggies featured on the bag.  Honestly, all I remember is that once I finished, they tasted... weird.

I dug the bag out of the trash.  July of 2015.

*gag*  

Later that night I was convinced that I'd be the first person to ever encounter death by vegetables.  Asparagus is tough when it's fresh... it's unimaginable when it's 2 years expired, take my word for it.  We all had a good laugh about it though, as I made a mental note to move "clean the fridge", and "Purge the freezers" closer to the top of the list.  Which of course, I didn't actually get to until today.

It started innocently enough, tossing expired stuff, boxing up the things we will never eat for the food pantry at the church. The freezer was a quick purge, as nearly everything was either unidentifiable, or from 2013.  I found a pack of hot dogs from 2012.  Yummy.

The fridge is quite simple as it gets rotated quite frequently.  Condiments all checked out as good except for the plastic lime from 2012. I found some questionable carrots in the back, and some sketchy apples that the squirrels outside were happy to take off my hands.  And then I saw them,  WAY in the back, four cans of beer.

Tony: "Um, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH MY BEER???"
Me: "I'm throwing it out."
Tony: "That's still good!!!"
Me: *flips can over* "Sept 4th 2015..."

Apparently, alcohol poisoning has an entirely different meaning in this house.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February's Wrap Up...

"I got my shirt tonight.  I can quit now."

Oldest's team basketball shirt was ruined last year in an unfortunate event involving the dryer and a fountain pen.  Turns out, he was holding on just for the shirt.  They gave them out last night during Senior night, and now he's just riding out the week.  Two more games.  One pizza party. And then he's on to other things.

Like driver's Ed, which starts on Monday. Overall, he's doing well, but my nerves can only handle so much time in the passenger's seat. Having someone else teach him how to drive in the snow who has a conveniently placed emergency brake will be a welcome blessing.

Youngest's wrestling season has lasted forever due to blizzards, the super bowl, and icy roads.  His last JV tournament is tomorrow and then he's off to the training camp for Spring season. In the mean time, he'll be sporting his new 16th D1 Championships jacket along with all his other teammates.  The verdict is still out on if he'll receive his varsity letter or not, as the standard is set by the coach and no one seems to know the criteria this year.  Either way, with only one head injury, and 3 wins despite having no idea what he was doing, his season was a success.

He's also in the middle of a blacksmiths class that has proven to be very fun and interesting.  I'm a bit jealous, I must admit, and every time I'm in the forge I feel the need to hit things.  I refrain, of course, but if the 4th student "no shows" again this week, I'm thinking of making a campfire stick.

We've done okay snow fall wise this year, but multiple blizzards have made for a stressful work day.  I am lucky that the type of delivery I have is only mildly impacted by snow, but the lack of communication between management regarding our safety is mind boggling. It's amazing that no one ended up dead.

Tony and I spent Valentine's day doing nothing.  He went to Oldest's basketball game, I picked up Youngest from practice, and we had snacks for dinner.

Snacks.

That's true love.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Get Me The Padded Helmet...

Seven years ago, I posted photos of Youngest in his Karate gear on Facebook. The photo that popped up under my "memories", was one of my favorites. He was sitting waiting to spar in his pure white gi and bright red helmet, his round face squished tight inside. His eyes are so clear in the photo, centered and peaceful.  A moment that rarely existed for him back then, captured in those few seconds of rest.  He competed until he was a red belt and then fizzled out.  He has entertained going back to classes, but other things seem to be getting in the way, and it's just never quite happened.

He tried basketball through the rec league. He liked it, but knew at his height there was no way he could compete on a High School level.  He has Scouts, which he also enjoys, but that too will be ending soon, as he will be starting his Eagle project this summer. And while he can continue until he turns 18, he sees how busy the older Scouts get with school and work, and knows deep down that it will not last much through his Junior year. So, while I was not surprised that he was looking for something else to do, I was completely taken back when he came home in November and told me he was joining the wrestling team.

 The.  Wrestling. Team.

The hardest, most demanding, of all sports in his school. The one with full physical skin contact... that can lead to ring worm and staff infections.  And those snazzy singlets.... *shudder*.... Lord help him. *sigh*

Our school has one of the best programs in the state.  Partly because of the recruitment process that starts for most kids in elementary school, and partly because of the extremely demanding yet unbelievably supportive head coach, who has coached here for over 20 years. He is tough.  They practiced on Christmas Eve.  They practiced during the blizzard two weeks ago. Their 6 day a week workouts are the most brutal of all the sports.  And yet, this coach is like the Pied Piper to them.

This year there are roughly 67 kids on the team.  Of those, maybe 15 are Varsity.  He reserves 14 of the remaining 53 for the starting JV line.  This means that roughly 39 or so compete against each other, but not in tournaments.  And yet, they stay.  They stay for the chance of a "wrestle off" to earn their place on the line.  When one kid isn't preforming, is disrespectful in any capacity, or his grades waiver, there are tens more that will take their place. I've never seen anything like it.

There are 4 boys in Youngest's weight class. And somehow, having never wrestled before, ever, he earned a spot on the JV start line.  They've had him weigh in for back up Varsity.  They've had him weigh in in front of opposing caches for a 2 pound swing (whatever that means). He works out.  He's keeping his grades up on his own. He's eating healthier that he ever has.  It's given him a place, separate of his brother, a way to challenge himself and push his limits. It gives his a feeling of belonging.

I rarely catch his meets.  Mostly because of my work schedule and his brother's basketball schedule, but also partly because they are tough to watch. Last week he competed against a Varsity player on an opposing team.  He lost the match on points, which in layman's terms means he lasted the entire match without getting pinned, but his opponent was more technical.  And since his opponent is ranked tenth in the State, I suspect he did quite well.  He won his first match of the day today, only to lose the subsequent 3.  In his second match, his opponent flipped him, slamming him into the mat by way of his face (that's not legal), knocking the wind out of him and leaving him needing to be checked by the coaches and refs before they could restart. There was no way that his small ear protectors, flimsy forehead padding, or mouth guard could protect him from that. He lasted about 2 more minutes before he succumbed to the pin. The refs didn't call the penalty.  Like in any sport, there's always calls that go unnoticed.

But it does make me wish I could put him back in that full head, padded red sparring helmet.  That sucker could take a hit.