My Dad’s family is known for doing some interesting and creative things. All memorable, they made for a fantastic childhood. One of my most vivid memories is when my family decided they needed a crest like dignified families do. Seeing we are also known for our wit, sense of irony, and humor, the crest and motto was atypical. Picture a station wagon. Inter-tubes, poorly fastened, flying behind with people spilling out of the vehicle. I think a flat tire was in there as well. Surrounding this scene are the words, “Nothing Comes Easy”.
This crest continues to be true of my clan in so many areas of life. Vacations, rummage sales, home repairs, restaurants, businesses, pets, children…. nothing comes easy. Fortunately, because of our aforementioned wit, sense of irony and humor, we usually take these difficulties in stride and laugh much.
Nothing Comes Easy showed it’s ugly head earlier this year. I wish I could make this stuff up, but this is the honest to goodness truth. It all started when my sister and her family came for a visit during their Spring Break…
We were SO excited to see them, as we always are. They were in a transition stage and we had no idea when their next visit would be or where they would be in the next year, so we decided family pictures were in order. Weeks prior to their visit, we planned venues, color schemes, photographers, outfits… It was a lot of work! We wanted to include my grandparents in a few pictures, of course. April is always iffy with weather in Wisconsin, but we would find a way to work with it.
Family arrived Monday and we agreed to a cook out at our house. Everyone was invited and bringing a part of the dinner. Family starts to arrive, food starts to cook, and we are prepping. Then in walks my grandpa with a salad and some brownies and starts chit chatting.
“So, Grandma was in the ER all day.”
“They are admitting her. She’s going to be having surgery tomorrow.”
It was all very conversational, like talking to your barber about the weather. If you weren’t listening, you almost wouldn’t catch it.
“She told me to get the salad and dessert to you. I wanted to stay with her, but she told me to do it.”
Now, this is a credit to both my grandparents. In great pain and misery, my grandma is still making sure that food is ready for her family. My grandpa loves his wife enough to do her bidding. Selfless.
Just as casually as Grandpa entered, he left.
I turned to my sister and asked, “What just happened here?” We received sad news and were left with a noodle salad, mint brownies and confusion.
Grandpa and Grandma were out of the picture. Literally. Grandma’s surgery was successful and relatively minor. Pictures were Thursday, so she had to miss it. And if there is no Grandma, there is no Grandpa.
The next two days were spent prepping outfits and hanging out in the hospital, which is fun when you bring your own party with you everywhere you go. Between myself, my sis and my brother, there are 11 kids. Visiting Grandma was like bringing a field trip group through. She loved it.
Then picture day arrived. The plan was to do pictures and then have a birthday party for our April birthday girls at my brother’s house.
It rained a cold rain. We remained optimistic and told the photographer, a friend of our family, to come anyways.
My nephew wasn’t feeling great. He rested most of the afternoon until the photographer arrived. The rondevous point was our house. I am so glad it was.
Everyone started getting dressed and primped and painted for pictures. My mom showed up with my poor nephew, who looked a disconcerting shade of green.
“He can rest after a few pictures.” We said. “He’ll be able to lie down in the car.” We said.
And then it happened. My dear nephew lost his cookies in my living room, to his parents’ horror. Remember when I said I was glad our house was the meeting point? I meant it! Every other relatives’ house had carpeted living rooms. We got rid of carpet years ago. So clean up? Not a problem.
AAAaaannnndddd the sister and family? Out of the picture. Literally. We couldn’t back out, because by this time the photographer from an hour away had shown up. The show must go on….
And go on it did. The remaining family was photographed and wet and cold. Our friend worked fast because the weather was miserable.
We all headed home to dry off and warm up and order pizza for the party. I was in charge of the pizza, so I ordered and headed out the door to pick it up. The rain had stopped by this time, and Ethan was playing outside. I didn’t think he saw me, so I backed out the driveway and went to get the pizza.
When I returned home I saw sirens across the street. A sinking feeling came into my stomach, but nothing looked amiss, so I entered the house. There are nine houses and a church on our block, so it could be anything. Plus, the church is a voting station and it was spring elections.
Then I heard it- the five words no mother wants to hear.
“Mom! The police were here.”
Apparently, Ethan did see me leave, thought I had left him behind and immediately bolted down the street, screaming and crying. Concerned voters from across the street heard the commotion and saw the boy running down the middle of the road and called law enforcement. By the time the policemen came, he disappeared, for his daddy heard him and brought him home.
So the police went door to door, looking for the little boy in distress. They came upon our house, found out it was indeed our son, and asked to see him. He was still quite shooken (It’s a word cause I say so) up and scared that the police were coming for him. They were nice and started asking questions. He wasn’t answering and finally responded with a sob of “I want my mom!!”
“Sir, I need your information.”
All this happened in the time it took for me to get pizza ten blocks away.
We finally recovered enough to head to the party and had a good time. We were even so brave as to increase our children by three for a slumber party with the cousins.
Between the hospital, the botched photos and the police, the week flew by. It ended sitting with my grandma, telling her our series of unfortunate events. We were all laughing to the point of pain. And several times, the family motto was repeated: Nothing Comes Easy.