Dad and Connie are just so…lovely. They put in the effort to be great grandparents. I mean, excellent grandparents, not the parents of my grandparents. Anyhoo, they set up this completely awesome picnic at Starved Rock last weekend to celebrate Father’s Day. Starved Rock is a place where some Native Americans died somehow. I think from dehydration.
They woke up at the crack of dawn, packed the exact food each grand child wanted (Eli: Jelly Beans, Fox: Marshmallow Fluff, Luca: Leinenkugel, Finn: air) and staked out a spot underneath a huge shady tree. They even brought a motorized children’s motorcycle. Just because the kids may want something to fight about.
It was good news they selected a place under a tree because it was a billion degrees with a billion percent humidity.
After the twentieth fight over the motorcycle, my dad suggested we go for a hike. Everyone thought this was a great idea except Connie. Who will now be known as “Smart Connie.”
Smart Connie thought it may be too hot for the kids. Smart Connie is smart. I realized Smart Connie was smart about ½ way up the 3,000 steps to the top of Starved Rock. When Luca demanded to be carried. He had that glassey eyed, flushed look of someone in the middle of heat exhaustion.
We made it back to the picnic table and pumped the kids up with water.
All seemed well on the drive back until Luca woke up from his nap. Completely dehydrated and heat sick. The only way for him to express his discomfort was to scream uncontrollably. Rather than swerve into oncoming traffic, my brother parked at McDonalds and took the kids inside. I held Luca while he screamed. And screamed. And screamed.
A steady stream of McDonald’s patrons (obese people) walked by trying to ignore this child whose head seemed to levitate off his head.
I tried to explain the situation to them. “Oh, I just beat him.” That seemed to work.
Eventually, I got him calmed down enough to consume an apple juice and some kind of iced fruit drink. I had fries.
In hindsight, it was exactly why I love being a dad. I love the chaos. I love the unpredictability. I love soothing an un-soothable child.
Best Father’s Day Ever. Until next year.