‘Twas that most wonderful time of the year. That five-day February weekend culminating in my most favorite day of all: Family Day. [Because apparently Albertans don’t spend as much time with their families as other Canadians?]
This year, thanks to not-entirely pleasant temperatures and bronchial distress (and, let’s face it: habit) we spent the five days mostly hibernating. Which is not the best way to approach five days of no school with three boys, but we pushed through and made it to today when the Gort ran into our room at 7.50am saying, in a panicky voice, ‘it’s 7.50am!’ worrying that 20 minutes might not be enough for him to eat a bowl of cereal and drive the three minutes to school. Apparently we parents are not the only ones feeling the effects of too much togetherness.
On Saturday – or Day 3 as I like to call it – when I managed to drag myself out of bed, I found the Hen had given himself a series of home tattoos. With a green marker. His nose. His upper lip. His cheek(s). His stomach. His back. The underside of his wrists?
It was the kind of incident that perfectly sums up what I like to refer to as ‘the Johnson way’. A somewhat bizarre moment that almost certainly does not occur in other households. Like the Gort’s recent fascination with a pair of white gloves and a white baseball cap.
For the Grade 2 assembly, we received a little note – and by ‘little’, I do mean a trimmed piece of paper on which a few words were printed. (At least that’s what I think it was, because the note disappeared along with all the logistical information about the day and I was left scrambling…checking the school website, frantically emailing friends and asking teachers for information about the big day.) I believe the note instructed parents to send a ‘white accessory’ to school with their student for the final performance.
In this xy-chromosome-laden house, our accessories tend to be black. Not white. Save a rather tattered adult-size US Open Tennis baseball cap that a friend gave me many years ago. So at 8 o’clock the night before the big show, I drove to the dollar store in search of something white. I found a white feather boa. I called the professor. ‘Can you ask the Gort if he would like a white feather boa?’ Silence. ‘This is the Gort’s Dad,’ my better half finally mustered, ‘he would not like to see his son in a white feather boa.’ Fair enough.
I scoured the aisles and found a pair of white ‘manicure’ gloves (i.e. thin, cotton gloves) in the beauty section which, in my desperate state, I grabbed. Not entirely satisfied with dressing my child as a mime, I headed to Winners to see if they might have any white accessories. I found a white baseball cap (and three bars of Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt) and went home.
Well the Gort developed an attachment to his accessories and, for forty eight hours afterwards, could be seen wearing his detective coat, his white cap and his white gloves at all times. Even over his pajamas. (Though not upon his head as in the picture above, which he did solely for my ‘benefit’.)
The Johnson Way.
So, on Day 3 of Family Weekend, when the professor took his oldest two boys to Nose Hill for a rock-collecting expedition, one of them looked like a little green Martian. Other families go skiing, but the Johnsons cover themselves with green marker and go looking for rocks. The boys returned several hours later; the Gort’s school backpack filled halfway with a motley of very-similar-looking rocks. Enough rocks to fill four large yogurt containers. Seriously.
After they returned with their bounty, the professor made his specialty-dinner: pancakes, bacon and eggs; loved by all the boy-children. The Hen was playing in the basement with his brothers. Suddenly he sniffed the air – like a dog – announced: ‘I smell bacon’ and ran upstairs.
They polished off more pancakes than anyone should eat in a week and, at the end, the Gort thanked his dad for the meal. ‘Hey Dad, your pancakes are really delicious,’ he encouraged sincerely, ‘but not your waffles.’
The Hen chimed in, ‘yeah Daddy makes good pancakes….and milkshakes’ but not waffles.
Counting down the days till Spring Break.