It was a day that my wife and I had been preparing for. Easter morning. Our two sons, both on the brink of still believing in the Easter Bunny, awoke at 7:00 am to search for their baskets.
Let me backtrack a bit. Friday night, I took a full dose of an antipsychotic drug that my doctor had prescribed. I had held off on taking it due to its potency (even after cutting it into fourths).
As a result, I awoke on Saturday morning as a zombie, not able to get out of bed or form a coherent thought. It also happened to be the morning that we were supposed to go to the animal shelter so the kids could walk and play with their favorite dog, Bee. It was their second time to walk Bee. She saw my boys approaching and became so excited, jumping up and down inside the cramped kennel.
See, I was supposed to go with them on Saturday, but due to my medication, I had to cancel that morning. My youngest son, who is 8, came to my bed. “Daddy, are you coming?” It was nearing the time that we were due to leave. “No, buddy. Daddy’s not feeling very good.”
My son sighed. “OK. Next time I guess.” And he and the rest of my family left. I remained in bed where I lay passed out from my drug-induced slumber.
The effects of the drugs were so great that they lingered on even into Easter morning. My heart was not into the tradition of watching the boys look for their Easter baskets that “the Easter Bunny” had hid the night before. When they finally found them, I was thinking about crashing in my bed and certainly not thinking about my kids’ joy in discovering their baskets and opening the toys inside.
I dragged myself to Mass that morning, not wanting to go because of the crowds; one of two days that the “C & E” (Christmas and Easter) Christians would attend, swelling the attendance and leaving the sanctuary standing-room only.
I hurried back home for the egg hunt that my wife and I always do for our kids. Reluctantly, I helped her to hide plastic eggs around the backyard, the whole time my head spinning around and focused only on the thought of my comfy bed.
Kids can tell. They know when something’s not right. Our kids, 8 and 10, wouldn’t let on that daddy’s heart just wasn’t in it; but they had fun, and my wife made up for it.
Afterwards, my sons wanted to hide eggs for my wife and me to look for. At this point I flat-out refused. My wife talked me into in (in front of my sons, I might add). I went through the motions, forcing smiles and filling my own basket with plastic eggs.
Finally it was over. I immediately went back to bed and tried desperately to sleep off the meds. I was awakened at dinnertime, the whole day pretty much gone.
Here it is Monday morning, and my heart aches for my two sons. They seemed to have fun, but their daddy didn’t display the interest that he normally does.
Yesterday is gone. I can’t get it back. My sons are getting old enough to remember things like this. Their days of innocence when they didn’t realize what a jerk I was have come to an abrupt halt.
If only I could make it up to them. I want to blame the damn pills, but it was my decision to ingest them Friday night. It was for a good reason, I keep telling myself. But at what cost? My sons’ 2016 Easter is now a memory, and I wasn’t at the top of my game.
As my boss says when I linger in the office too long after class: “Your kids aren’t young forever. Go home.”
Try harder next time, I tell myself. That’s all I can do.