Father's Day. Yet another Hallmark-inspired holiday brought to you by the fine folks in Corporate America (man, am I turning into a cranky old person or what?!?!?!).
There - I promise that's all the sourness you'll get from me. I kinda enjoy Father's Day - not because of the gift-giving aspect of it. But more for the "church" experience that comes with every Father's Day. My FAVORITE part is what the kiddos bring you from their class...whether it be a big paper necktie...or a "#1 DAD" medal made out of a paper plate...or an interesting artist's rendition of you by your five-year old - one in which you have hands the size of Dr. J, pencil-thin legs, and wild hair (well...in my case, take out the hands and it's pretty close!). I also used to get a big kick out of a portion of the Father's Day worship service at a congregation Robin and I once attended...where the preacher would have all the dad's in the congregation stand while the rest of the congregation would sing "Rise Up, O Men of God." I would sit there doing the "church giggle" thanking the Lord that I did not, yet, have children.
This year, Father's Day was at its highest point at church. Elijah, my 7-1/2 year old, drew pictures of things that he thought made his dad special (for instance, he drew a picture of Dad's Favorite Food -- "salad." His teacher got a HUGE kick out of that). He also drew a picture of when he was happiest - when he's playing catch with his dad. I will admit that I teared up a bit.
But that's where all the good ended!
Robin and I lost a dear friend over the weekend...but since I have to fly to Indianapolis Monday morning, I was unable to go to the funeral. So Father's Day morning saw me and my three convicts...uh, I mean, three sons...set out for church alone. I eventually got everyone to class then ran off to mine. After class I managed to rustle my oldest two into the Auditorium. I had just finished reading the aforementioned note from Elijah when the pager in my pocket went off. This is the pager that they give you when you have a two-year old that is capable of violence in the nursery.
So I left the older two under the care of some unwary parishoner and dashed off to see what Jacob had done. I had not yet reached the door of the nursery when my olfactory senses kicked in. After I picked myself up off the floor, I peeked around the door to see if there was a problem. The nursery volunteer, a young lady not more than 13 with a bewildered, panicked look on her face, informed me that was not a dead body I smelled. It belonged to my son...and she wasn't changing it!
So I donned a Haz
-Mat uniform, wished myself a Happy Father's Day, and did my duty (no pun intended).
After making a trip to the dumpster I made it back to the auditorium for worship. My two oldest were fidgety as usual. When the time for "Children's Church" rolled around, Noah informed me he would not be going. So I bid farewell to Elijah and hovered between consciousness while shifting my attention between a sermon about the recently departed Tim Russert
and Noah's drawings of basketball courts. Quite nice, really.
So...it's Father's Day. And where do we go to lunch on Father's Day? If your answer was, "Wherever Daddy wants to go," then you OBVIOUSLY are either not a father yet, OR the man of the house in your family runs a Dictatorship. No...in the Campbell house...if it's Sunday lunch that means one thing, and one thing only....Cici's
Who in their right mind would trade the insanity and mayhem of a pizza buffet with arcade games for a quiet Sunday brunch?!?!?!
So after making a trip through the line to fill three plates...THEN making a trip to the drink machine to fill three drinks...THEN making a trip to the salad bar to fill three plates with some semblance of a vegetable...THEN making a trip BACK to the drink machin to refill Jacob's spilt Sprite, I get to make a trip through the line. Man...Canadian Bacon never tasted so good!
I've barely begun my meal when my oldest begins to stir the pot. Elijah, knowing full-well we would be going to Cici's
, managed to smuggle a dollar from his bank. When he was done eating, he produced the money from his pocket and proudly walked to the game room. The other two, mouths agape and eyes wide with wonder, both turned to me and yelled in unison, "Where's my dollar??!?!?!" Hoping to AVOID a scene I produced two one-dollar bills from my wallet and sent them on their merry way.
In a matter of five minutes, World War III broke out.
While Jacob is trying to feed quarters into a game that makes the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" look like an episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood,
Elijah and Noah are duking it out over who gets to play Ms. Pac
Man first. So as I begin the refereeing portion of my job I happen to glance over my shoulder to see a young couple with a baby no more than two months old shooting me the look that says, "And they let YOU be a parent."
After what seemed like hours I shuttled my kids out of the gameroom
, VERY close to the young family's table, and out the door....fighting the whole way, I might add. When we get in the car I announce that all of them have earned a spot in Time Out when we get home. This announcement is met with a chorus of, "It wasn't my fault's" and "You're not fair's
," and "We want Mommy to come home's."
We pull into the driveway, and I order everyone upstairs. As I sit down on the couch, I barely manage to get one shoe off when I hear a thud upstairs. Now thuds in the Campbell house are not uncommon. Then I hear crying. Again, crying...DEFINITELY not an uncommon sound in the Campbell house. But then I hear the type of crying that is more than "Ouch." It's the type of crying that says, "Wow, blood is supposed to be INSIDE your body, not outside." And my fears are confirmed when Noah announces, "Daddy, Jacob is bleeding!"
I dash up the stairs to find that Noah has issued quite an understatement. Jacob IS bleeding from the hand...and doing so quite nicely. I ask, "What happened?" Noah gives me the shrug of innocence. But not time to worry about that. I quickly call a neighbor and ask if they can watch the older two while I make yet another trip to the ER.
By the time everyone is in the car EVERYBODY is in tears. Elijah and Noah are upset because they don't want their brother to have to get stitches. And Jacob...well, he's upset because he doesn't want to get stitches either. And Daddy is crying because Daddy was sooo
looking forward to watching the US Open's
So off I go to Medical Center of McKinney singing "Happy Father's Day" to myself as I go. I'll spare you the gory
details of my visit...but five stitches later I emerge lighter in the wallet and weary in spirit...but glad to have yet another ER visit in the books.
The rest of my Father's Day. Well...I'm just glad it was blood-free!