“Don’t embarrass me on the field trip, Daddy.”
Hmm. This isn’t the same girl who last week begged me to be one of the chaperones on her school trip.
“You can’t wear anything with holes.
“What about underwear?”
Angrily, she grabbed me by the arm and brought me to my closet. “Let me pick out your clothes.”
“Just like your mother,” I mumbled under my breath.
“I heard that,” my wife said from two rooms away.
The woman has bionic hearing.
Lexy picked out a nice, black, buttoned-down shirt. “Here you go, Dad.”
I approved. “Thanks.”
I was off the hook. Temporarily.
A few minutes later Lexy approached me again. “Daddy, when we go the museum you can’t eat like you do at home.”
I wasn’t sure what that meant but was eager to find out.
“Mom is buying you a chicken cutlet hero but you can’t eat the whole thing. You can only have half.”
“What if I shove the whole hero in my mouth at one time so no one can tell the difference?”
“No.” She was firm in her position and unsure if I was kidding.
“Fine, I can do that. Anything else?”
“Yes, we can’t be late. You’re always the last one ready.”
My son passed by the kitchen long enough to agree with his sister.
Was I always the slowest?
“The kids are right. You’re always the last one,” my wife said.
I was starting to think the three of them were conspiring against me.
“And one more thing—no going to the bathroom. You take too long.”
“So you want me to hold it in all day? I don’t want to have an accident. Then you’d really be embarrassed.”
She laughed sheepishly. “You can go to the bathroom at home, I guess.”
“I promise if I go to the bathroom at the museum, I’ll be quick.”
She acquiesced. “Okay, but don’t bring your iPhone to the bathroom.”
“Promise.” I smiled.
I heeded all of her suggestions.
On the day of the field trip, I was ready for the time she suggested, but it didn’t matter. She was nervous. If I was ready the night before, it still wouldn’t have been early enough.
We raced to school and Lexy told me to wait in front of the school while she met up with her class.
I waited. And waited. And waited some more. About an hour passed before Lexy’s class boarded the bus.
I then boarded the yellow bus—which brought back strange memories of wedgies, wet willies, and boogers—with the other parents. I was annoyed by the long wait and hungry, to boot. Dam, if I wasn’t going to eat that whole sandwich.
But poor Lexy was forced to share a seat with me while her friends sat together. I didn’t want to embarrass her further so I left the sandwich in the bag. Besides, the thought of boogers didn’t exactly whet my appetite.
After about thirty minutes of silence, Lexy grew more comfortable with me sitting next to her. We started talking and I even spoke a little with her classmates. I felt like we were really bonding.
Then the whole bus started chanting “Justin Bieber!” What the hell was I doing here? And why couldn’t I be a filthy rich 16-year-old in a boy band?
Then I had to go the bathroom. It was all unraveling. I wanted that whole sandwich now.
But Lexy continued to talk to me and I felt fine again. In fact, it was going to be great—until they start chanting, “Hannah Montana!”
Copyright © 2010, Brad Manzo