“A Successful Collection of Failures”
One Easter, Joy and I had hidden a number of chocolate eggs around the house for the traditional egg hunt. Richard and his younger brother were both in public school and loved the annual search for Easter eggs. Typically, we each made efforts to help the son who was falling behind in the count. To even things up, I would often sneak one from Richards collecting bowl and drop it into his brothers.
At times I would grab a few of the found eggs and re-hide them to prolong the excitement. Both of our children could have played well into the afternoon, but eventually we would all have to stop and account for every one of the sweet treasures. Each year we would finish the hunt by counting all of the cheap treats that had been found, and thereby avoid coming across a lost one many months later. I dreaded the thought of finding a chocolate egg melted into the carpet on a hot summers day.
One year, Richard got the idea of drawing out the morning hunt by taking turns with his brother hiding the eggs. The plan, as I understood it, was that Richard would hide the eggs for his brother to find, and then later they would reverse roles. This worked well for the better part of the afternoon while I was able to provide some suggestions. Later, with dinner guests arriving, I allowed them to continue on their own with a specific number of eggs.
Most of the good hiding spots in the house had been used a few times already, and Richard had become somewhat challenged finding new ones. His younger brother was getting tired of the game and becoming more interested in a nap. Oddly enough, this provided Richard with an idea. The object of which was not brought to my attention until sometime after. For reasons known only to Richard, when my youngest fell asleep on his side, Richard placed a small chocolate Easter egg into his brothers ear. As we worked away in the kitchen and prepared for our guests, the warmth of an ear melted away one of our holiday eggs. I am not sure what Richard was doing at the time I discovered this, but I do know it ended abruptly.
“What in Gods name were you thinking?” I asked. In the past, Richard had been creative when it came to getting into trouble, but I usually had a relevant response. This time I was completely lost for words as I stood dumbfounded next to my chocolate covered son. It had melted so deeply into his ear I thought we might have to consult a brain specialist. Maybe I should have insisted on it and negotiated a group rate to include examining Richards head as well.
Doctors in the emergency ward of the local hospital echoed my sentiments. Their looks of disapproval, however, were directed at me, not my first born. Profoundly logical statements were made. Things like, “Dont put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear” and “Keep chocolate in the cupboard.” Believing that some people need instructions for anything, they jokingly suggested that “If not used correctly, chocolate Easter eggs can be dangerous.” I was not the one that needed a lecture. The one who desperately required correcting was Richard, but he was not on hand to provide sheepish looks as evidence of the truth. Instead he was at home celebrating Easter with his mother—who was taking her turn in our bout of tag-team scolding. Unfortunately, there are few holidays from parenting.
Not every trouble melts away.
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