Most of the time I love being the father of three kids. In fact, there was a time that I wash pushing for a fourth. I just really enjoy being a dad.
However, last Sunday night, my enthusiasm for parenting waned a bit.
It started as a lovely evening as I watched the girls in our church's annual Christmas pageant. At the pimento cheese reception following the service, Stephanie asked if we could grab a quick dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant - and take four of her friends with us.
Seeming like I'm always saying no, I surprised her, "Sure, I'd love to." She was giddy.
All was good with las adolescentes sitting at an outdoor table can tacos and Michelle and I inside with another family from church.
Approximately ten minutes after arrival, Stephanie flew up to my table, "Dad, somethings wrong. I'm going to throw up. We gotta go now!"
"Daaad, I know when I'm going to puke! Yes, I know!!"
We arrived home at 6:55 pm. Her regurgitation began at 7, several of her friends still waiting for their rides.
"Ahh - Stephanie's vomiting in the bathroom. Anyone want more salsa?"
I settled her in my bed with a towel and a plastic trash can. Michelle took nurse duty, while I ran to pick up DJ from another social function.
I drove up. DJ opened the car door. "Dad. I feel like I'm going to puke."
Great - a gaggle of gaggers.
At approximately 8 pm, there were two, each vomiting in 20 minute cycles. I worked hard to keep a clean trash can by each one's head to avoid up chuck on the furniture.
Michelle actually got tickled as she watched me rapidly cart barf from room to room. And to her, it was funny...
Until 11 pm.
She didn't call for me, I just sensed something was up.
I dashed up the stairs, she'd clearly been asleep. She sat by her new creation, a zombied look about her face.
"Oh baaby. Couldn't make it to the bathroom?"
No reply - still in a daze.
The more they spewed, the more nauseous I became.
"Is it possible to vomit and diarrhea at the same time?", one of my daughters asked.
"Yeah. Two exits, no waiting," I replied as I ran for more towels.
Stephanie finally fell asleep at midnight; DJ at 1.
Michelle threw up every 25 minutes, without exception, until 6 am.
I'd put my head on the pillow and nearly get relaxed when I'd hear the beginnings of the heave.
There goes the trash can, then the gut grumbles, followed by the actual act.
Thankfully, I have an immune system made from steel. I nearly bathed in the stuff but never caught the bug.
Once I think I've been through every parenting scenario at least once without Lisa, a new one rears its head. I don't think I'm ever going to master this.