How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Season’s Beatings

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Oh, Christmas. When I hear your sleigh bells and smell your hot chocolate, my tongue takes the driver seat and my stomach goes to the proverbial back of the car. I am a slave to your whims. Unless, the guy in the back of the car isn’t wearing his seat belt.

This time around our annual holiday trip to the San Francisco area began so smoothly it was almost eery. Finn was a dream on the airplane, life worked itself out so this would be a relatively stress-free vacation and we had lots of activities planned for the duration of our stay.

Finn getting all Gandalf at the park up in Marin County. You SHALL NOT pass (me on the slide).

Everything seemed ultra-normal.

When we arrived, the air was crisp and clear. Finn got to spend some much needed alone time with Nana. They’re fast friends, acting like giggly little party animals together. It’s great to watch. And I don’t mind the break from preventing Finn’s certain death every five seconds. What is it about boys and putting themselves in mortal danger?

The first night we ate 12 helpings of food too many, and about as many cookies. We settled in snug in our beds.

More cooking, more eating, more chats.

By the time we reached Christmas Eve, I think I’d ingested about 25,000 calories. Most of them cookie-based. Maybe a few brownies. We took a long walk after dinner through the wooded streets of our town. We were winding our way to a house decorated like an LSD gingerbread house when we heard screaming.

Christmas tree of epic proportionsI managed to fit in assembling that plastic death trap before hell broke loose…

It didn’t even sound human. It sounded like five people actually. When we tried to locate it, it seemed to be everywhere. And then, like some sort of tarzan/elf experiment, we saw a young teen on the roof. She was running around, her hair exploded in a billion directions. We called out to her, since she was prancing around on the angled edge of this neon madness. She cackled back at us. Her laugh was more of a scream. It was obvious that she had some form of non-verbal autism. Every time I asked her if there was a parent around, she ducked to the other side of the roof.

I approached the house. It looked like a Christmas present, all wrapped up. No one answered my calls. All I heard was the constant shrieking as a shadowy form darted around the property, up on the roof and everywhere else. There was obviously no chaperone or parent, so began our first annual Christmas Eve 911 call custom. Joy.

When we came home, I was feeling extra tired and a little uneasy. And then it happened…

The Season of Giving

This is even creepier when I think about last night.

The holidays are about giving, aren’t they? Like giving until it hurts? Like GIVING and GIVING and GIVING until the toilet can’t take any more charity? Well, let’s just say I didn’t ask to lose weight for Christmas (though I needed it after all the eating), but Santa Claus decided he wanted me to tell my stomach’s life story to Mr. Toilet.

I don’t think I’ve thrown up that much in a long time, not since I was a younger man performing in the side show act in Skokie, Illinois. You might’ve also thought I took a break from rocking Twitter and Facebook because it’s the holidays. Um, nope. I’ve been laid up in bed eating saltines and drinking ginger ale on Christmas Day.

Opening presents? Nope. All the activities we planned? Nope. Getting on a plane today? Yep.


3 Responses to “Season’s Beatings”

  1. Hann says:

    Ugh! Hope you’re feeling on the up! My family has a Christmas tradition that someone ALWAYS gets sick. The most memorable for my parents was when my oldest sister got sick at church half an hour before service. The closest vessel to catch the puke was the bowl to hold the baptismal water….which was used 45 min later for a baptism.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    OH dear! 🙁 I sure hope you are feeling better today. I was fully expecting the same, as I ate things I normally don’t, and my delicate stomach usually rebells like an angry teenager.

  3. So basically, you ruined Christmas. 😉

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