When you take your children on a surprise trip to Orlando it can be pretty rough, with all day travel and late nights and dehydration and “It’s a small world after all” over and over again. Sooner or later everyone had a little meltdown.
I just didn’t expect to throw the biggest tantrum of the trip. Maybe in the world.
We were at the Universal theme park, waiting in line at The Simpsons ride. Now, as an awkward, insecure man who went to college in the 90’s, The Simpsons is a religion to me. I’ll spare you my ability to recite lines from “Marge vs. The Monorail.”
All I wanted to do on the trip, nay, in my life, was ride The Simpsons ride and we were close to making my dreams come true.
As with all rides at Universal, the line was brutal. We’d been sweating behind the same foreigners masquerading as Americans for over and hour. Steve and I had spent most of the time gently assuring the more nervous of our group that this ride was not in the very least scary at all. Not a bit. Nope. That giant warning sign and repeated loudspeaker advisories are no indication of scariness.
We could just about see the end of the line. Which lead to another line, and possibly another line before actually revealing the ride, but we were close.
I felt a little tug on my arm. It was Luca.
“I have to pee.”
“I have to pee.”
“Are you kidding me?”
Elijah and Finn saw their opening. “Yeah, I have to pee too. And this ride is too scary. I think it’s like the Spiderman ride that was waaay too scary for Luca. Let’s go. For Luca,” Eli said.
I bent down and unleashed. “No! No! We’re not leaving. This is the ONE thing I want to do. You guys got to do everything you wanted on this trip. And this is the one thing I want to do. We. Are! Going! On! This! Ride!”
I had attracted the attention of the other line waiters. What better way to pass the time than to watch a grown man act like a three year old?
That’s when Luca began to cry.
It was as if someone threw a glass of cold water in my face. I shook my head and knelt down to him.
“Look. I’m sorry. Let’s go. Let’s go find you a bathroom.”
“No!” He moaned. “I don’t want to ruin this trip for you.”
It was at this moment that a uniformed man made his way through the crowd and presented me with certificate proclaiming me The Worst Father In The History Of The World.
I scooped Luca up in my arms and silently made my way through the crowd, who parted to make way for TWFITHOTW. Finn and Eli followed close behind. Steve and Rory stayed in line because there ain’t no way they were missing The Simpsons ride.
I spent the rest of the afternoon in a daze, buying Luca anything and everything he pointed at because that’s what dads do when they royally screw up.
After his fourth or fifth box of popcorn, he slid his hand into mine as a gesture of forgiveness.
And as Homer Simpson one said, “You can’t keep blaming yourself. Just blame yourself once, and move on.”