Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. Nor is it for the faint of stomach.
My father can surely attest to this. After all, he’s had to deal with some seriously sickening stuff while raising my brother and me—everything from our various injuries and ailments to my ill-fated forays into cooking. And for the most part, he’s handled it all pretty well. I can safely say he’s one of the strongest-stomached people I know.
However, his stomach does have one major weakness. I learned this the hard way when I was ten years old and we went to the county fair one afternoon.
I had been there earlier that morning with my friend Emily. She and I had ridden a ride that was the COOLEST, FUNNEST thing I had experienced in all of my ten years. Naturally, I was dying to go on it again when I came back to the fair with Mom and Dad. Under normal circumstances I would’ve asked my fearless, adventurous mother to accompany me, but she was very pregnant with Sam at the time. So I asked Dad instead. Great idea, right? Not so much.
You see, there’s this joke in our family that Dad’s just the teeniest bit prone to motion sickness. I’d never paid much attention to it. And when he refused to go on the ride with me, I was determined to change his mind. I presented a compelling argument: that the ride wasn’t really all that bad, that if I thought it was the COOLEST, FUNNEST thing ever, surely he would too. When this didn’t sway him, I resorted to a more effective strategy: begging. After about the 500th plea of “Will you PLEASE go on the super cool, fun ride with me?” he caved.
What happened next is kind of a blur. However, I can still perfectly picture Dad’s face when I happened to glance over at him sometime in the middle of the ride. He looked more miserable than I was even capable of imagining—and just a shade or two short of pure green.
After it was over, we headed straight for the car. Mom and I sat inside and watched in horror as Dad spent the next half hour pacing through a nearby field, puking occasionally and muttering what I’m sure were either some choice four-letter words or his vows to disinherit me.
Even though Dad and I can laugh at this story now, I’ve always felt kind of bad about putting his stomach through such an ordeal. However, I hope he knows how much it means to me that he was willing to do so for the sake of my own happiness. And I know exactly how to thank him—I’m ordering season passes to Six Flags for the three of us. Either that or cooking him dinner.