Sometimes despite our best efforts to control a situation, our holiday get togethers spiral into disasters of epic proportions.
This year we may have created a whole new holiday called DisEaster. We’re lucky when we can laugh about it later. We’re luckier still when we can laugh at it while it’s happening.
Tied closely with this week’s exploration on releasing perfectionism, I captured our family’s imperfect insanity below. My mentor and brilliant coach Karen Wright suggested a powerful tweak in language, from releasing perfectionism, to Embracing Imperfection.
In this age of over-posturing, humble-bragging (I still do this unconsciously), and straight-up bull-poop infiltrating all our news and social networks, I’m clinging desperately to anything real.
Coaching Challenge for myself and clients: What will you do this week to bring your Real, Beautiful Face back to Facadebook? In my case: Missing front tooth and all.
OUR EASTER OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
“This has been the BEST Easter ever!” exclaimed Frankie, as I threw together a quick dinner. We had just returned from spending the afternoon with some new friends, and everyone had a blast. Elliott and I put on a little concert, and ended up leaving with a new acoustic guitar as a gift.
Somewhere in all our familial glee, it slipped my mind that our favorite astrologer Michael Lennox warned of wildly intense energies today…
I just had to look up the line from A Christmas Story:
“Oh, life is like that. Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.”
We finished dinner about 7:20 pm. The plan was for the kids to watch a new episode of “Series of Unfortunate Events” and go to bed. Gayle fed the dog (Molly), who’s been recovering from having 13 teeth pulled earlier this week.
Molly is diabetic. We shoot her up with insulin twice a day, and we had to leave our epic afternoon a little early to tend to Molly’s needs. She’s been on soft, canned food since the procedure, and she tears into this food like a Ravenous Jackal. She goes after the soft food with such ferocity, that it kind of frightens me. I drop her dish on the floor, and BACK AWAY. She trembles and growls while she eats it, like she’s making sure it’s dead. Weirds me out.
But something was amiss. She wasn’t interested in the food. Gayle was in with the kids, settling down for their favorite show.
All a sudden, The Horrific Kaiser Sose chain of events presented themselves.
The kids left their (3) Easter baskets on the coffee table, for the entire 6 hours we were out of the house. The crying started, and I could hear Gayle’s blood pressure and vocal tone starting to rise. I was making eye contact with Molly, who was trembling.
Frankie, Leon, and Gayle inventoried the volume of candy our small, sweet, diabetic dog ate. THREE carrot bags filled with hundreds of orange Reese’s Pieces, 2 Reese’s Pieces bunnies, and a full-sized Kit-Kat.
Just typing that fills me with equal parts awe, and rage.
It’s a motherload of Easter garbage that would take down a grown man.
Bags, foil and all. Gone. All gone.
At this point, Leon’s grief was reaching a fever pitch. He was already exhausted from getting up so early to see if the Easter Bunny came. He shrieked and howled like he was watching his family being eaten by zombies. “NOOOOO! THE CARROT! She ate my WHOLE CARRROTTT!”
The “CARROTT!!” was mentioned at least 25 times, in full shrieking voice.
His lamentations grew darker, and more reflective:
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think we should get rid of Molly!”
I was washing dishes, and I told him to come in so I could comfort him. Gayle was throwing lightning bolts at Molly, and Frankie was screaming about her candy, then worrying about the dog, then her candy, then finally settling on the dog.
The whole magical vibe disintegrated into a 5-Alarm Easter Disaster. Leon came into the kitchen and yelled:
“THIS IS THE TERRIBLE-EST EASTER EVER!!!!”
I watched him closely, as his body purged the waves of grief over his precious candy, and all the dreams that nasty Molly robbed him of.
At one point, Leon looked off into the distance with such profound sadness and pleaded: “Come BACK, Easter Bunny. COMMMme. BacccKKKK.”
I would have wept with him, if I wasn’t dying laughing at the insanity of all of it. I’m thinking, “Dead dog. 3 crying kids.” Parents of three know the horror of The Cryfecta. When all three kids cry at once, your very existence feels like a Cosmic Joke.
We called Gayle’s Mom, who “reassured” us that Molly had once consumed half a chocolate cake. You can’t make this shit up.
We decided to normalize our shitty evening, and proceeded with watching a show as a family. Elliott even brought Molly up on the couch.
It was short lived, because Molly could feel all the HATE DAGGERS we blasted at her from our eyes.
I can’t even hear the show over my dark thoughts. I was just so disappointed in everything and everyone. This was a catastrophic failure of all our safeguards, and candy containment. “Molly isn’t the only dumbass around here, and that hurts to reconcile. She may have been the greediest dumbass, but she certainly isn’t the only one.”
The dog jumps off the couch, and Ellie said “No, Molly. Come back.”
Molly went straight into the kitchen and blasted two orange lakes of vomit. Niiiiice. Our night was now flushed so irretrievably far down the shitter that we looked at cleaning up vomit as sweet relief.
“Oh no,” I thought, “Could there be more?”
Down in the lower family room there were two more horrifying splats of Reese’s-Vomited-Pieces, including one nearly intact bunny still in in its wrapper.
I asked Leon if he wanted it back.
My wife is such a freaking WARRIOR. In times of disaster she goes into this trance-like “Go-Mode”. Her eyes deaden like a shark, and she barks crystal clear directives. “Grab me the 2 stacks of clean rags. I’ll need another roll of paper towels. Give the dog her insulin to regulate her blood sugar.”
She could’ve requested 4 pints of fresh blood and I would’ve given it to her.
Gayle and Elliott start attacking these 4 crazy barf lakes. Two upper, two lower. One involving a carpet. In shock and trying to hold it together, I wandered aimlessly around the kitchen, jamming my hand in a bag of popcorn, eating aggressive handfuls.
It was my only defense.
Leon and Frankie continued to cry on and off, worried about Molly either going into a sugar coma, or Mommy murdering her on Easter Sunday.
Mommy periodically muttered dark words at the dog: “I can’t even LOOK at you right now!”
I thought back to Frankie’s sweet reflections as I made dinner. “Yes, this surely IS THE BEST Easter ever!!!” I continued shoveling popcorn into my pie hole, blurring the lines between stress eating and complete bewilderment.
And then, “POP”!
I knew this creepy feeling. I broke my front tooth in half!
A few years back, I busted the same front tooth running a latte up our wooden steps, slipping, and smacking my face on the stairs. It was a clean break, but still pretty disturbing.
I run down to Gayle and Elliott in the laundry room and say “But WAIT! This night is getting BETTER! I just broke my f***ing TOOTH!”
Gayle’s face honestly looked like she was ready to send this whole Existential Shit Sandwich back to the kitchen, and start a new life some place far away with a new family. Strangely, I’ve seen that face a handful of times over the years.
Can’t say I’d blame her.
Now we have the dog sleeping in the laundry room for the night, and she’s scratching at the door like a honey badger. Gayle is having a much-deserved cocktail, and I have a pretty impressive lisp. I keep making this dopey grin at Gayle and Elliott and they start dying laughing.
It’s the only thing keeping me from going fetal ball.
I didn’t swallow the tooth, but my dentist is on vacation. I’ll hopefully get in tomorrow to get my hillbilly tooth taken care of.
I’m grateful there’s still plenty of time tonight to get a solid meditation in. I’m grateful we have experience in navigating even more challenging (and downright scary) shitshows as a family.
I’m grateful Molly survived eating half a chocolate cake.
I’m grateful Easter means so much more than Whatever This Is.
I wish I could say this was April Fools, but my tongue is sitting in a giant hole in my grill, and our beautiful home smells like stale dog barf.
And now, it’s SNOWING.
So, how was your Easter?
LOTS OF BELLY LAUGHTER
Elliott (13) and I review the recap before it was posted…