Life is full of disappointments and they are all Mommy's fault
Last night, all five of us were supposed to go to a dinner party at Primo's best friend's house. This is the sort of thing other people do all the time because I guess, other people are easy to get along with and effortlessly attract group invitations to things, but its not the sort of thing we do all the time, probably because all of us (baby excluded), while lovable, are big pains in the ass.
So we were going to dinner at Larry's house and Primo was thrilled and Seconda was thrilled, because there's a little sister there for her to play with and David and I were thrilled because we've been stuck in NYC this whole Christmas break, dealing with sick kids and feeling stir crazy and in need of adult company. Then, an hour or two before the party, Larry's mom emailed to see if Primo would like to sleep over after the party. Would he ever! Could things get any better? Primo slept over there last year and he still talks about it in reverential tones, like some legendary night he'll never forget -- how late he stayed up! How early he woke! How many movies they watched! The video games they played! He was breathless with excitement and so were David and I, because the baby's been waking everyone at night with her double ear infection, and when Primo wakes, its not easy to get him back to sleep and we both are just utterly exhausted and in need of a break.
It took about an hour to get the kids ready for the party, what with the packing of Primo's overnight bag, containing EVERYTHING, and the administering of antibiotics to half of the family (Terza's alone takes a half hour since she spits half of it out every time). We purchased a lot of pastries. Primo put on a bow tie and his Phantom of the Opera mask: his version of formal. We went out into the rain and snow and piled into the car, only a half an hour late. And then I checked my phone, and I saw a text message telling me Larry had just thrown up. Party cancelled. In other words, Primo's words, all hopes of a happy life cancelled.
I told David to pull the car over. We broke the news to the kids.
Primo wailed. Seconda wailed. The baby wailed, not knowing why, but always up for a good sobfest.
"It can't be!" Primo screamed, "I even put on my fancy bow tie! I brought my Calvin and Hobbes collection!"
"I know honey," I said, with what I'd estimate was a 10 on the spectrum of heartfelt sympathy, "I know you're disappointed."
"Disappointed!" he shrieked, "I'm not disappointed! I'm heartbroken! Heart-SHATTERED!!!!!"
I turned to David and gave him the look which said, "Is it too late to sell them to the gypsies? They're still cute and we could make a tidy sum."
Of course, what did I expect from the offspring of two actors- turned-writers? Its all histrionics all the time. Its operas every day, and often, well into the night. At least it will keep a bunch of therapists in business in about 10-15 years.
"You know its not my fault Larry threw up, right?" I asked Primo, "You know I'm not respnsible for this?"
"Do something!" he beseeched me.
"Since I lack the god-like ability to heal the sick, there is nothing I can do," I informed him.
"You can soften the blow," he retorted, opportunist that he is.
So, as a consolation prize (and Primo was quick to inform me it was pretty shabby consolation, because nothing would ever make up for the loss of faith and happiness he'd suffered from the sleepover cancellation) we went out for Mexican food, watched the original Karate Kid, starring Ralph Macchio, and ate the better part of a box of pastries intended for 12 people.
"The thing you need to realize, Primo-san," I told him while we stuffed our face with eclairs, "Because the fact is, life is full of disappointments."
Nicole is a parenting writer who contributes essays and articles for magazines like Parenting, Parents, American Baby and Babble. She lives in Brooklyn with three children, one husband and a morbidly obese goldfish.