Saturday morning your dad entered the kitchen and said “wait to you see it” upon returning from picking up the rental that would be my car for the upcoming week. The mom-mobile finally has one dent too-many, and I’d like to note–and when say I’d like to note, I mean with the ongoing jokes in this family about my terrible driving skills (actually, no one says I’m bad, rather no one will drive with me, which speaks volumes), I must note–that final blow incurred in the crowded parking lot of North Shore Farms? It was your dad’s fault, babies, he was driving, he hit the divider, it wasn’t meeeeeeeee! (I’m not happy it happened; I’m happy it wasn’t me.)
The impish way he was smirking, I knew it wasn’t the black Jeep the insurance company had promised.
“What color is it, purple?”
“What, like, orange? Neon??”
“Nope,” with a sharp “p.”
“Just tell me Denby, what color is it?”
“It’s not the color…”
What, what could it be?? said the furrowed brows punctuating my expression.
Your dad grinned the grin of the Grinch. “It’s a mini-van.”
While I must admit, my first reaction that morning was “COME ON!,” after cruising around town with this bad boy this morning, this door-sliding white Dodge Caravan, I have chugged the suburban kool-aid and I am hooked.
Your dad called earlier to see how I was doing, which means if I took out any trees or mailboxes while trying to park.
“It’s like a spaceship, Denby,” and I meant that in the best possible way. “One kid can climb in and while I put the other one in his seat! There’s an aisle! And then there’s a whole other back seat! I should pick people up!”–which in a knee-jerk reaction prompted an immediate quoting of “Dumb and Dumber,” “pick ’em up!”, which he ignored– “The trunk, Denby, it’s so deep! There’s just so much room. It’s so awesome…”
…Saturday night your dad I went to the movies for the first time together since maybe Slumdog Millionaire (see 2008). We got giant popcorns and elbowed each other about how much everything cost. “Wow, when we come to the movies as a family of four it’s going to be like over a hundred dollars…” (You can tell that was me saying that, right? Your dad would’ve said “it’s going to be $112.18,” quickly added in his head to the dime.)
We saw “Les Miserables” and cried through much of it. At the end, after the theater boomed with a moving chorus of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” and the screen went black and the credits rolled, we applauded. We hooked arms like the rest of the senior citizens filing into the aisles (hey, we’d caught the 5:15, early bird special), and we leaned into each other and gushed our awestruck reviews.
“Can you believe people can be so talented like that? To be able to sing like that?”
“What a monster of a movie, to take so much material and make it so engrossing. It was truly transporting…”
We were this close to saying “Hugh Jackman is a tour de force!”
At dinner, we continued our gush to a friend, a real Les Mis lover, over text. “Did u c Les Miz? It was awesome,” we wrote.
Our friend replied, “Saw it, thought it sucked.”
That’s what happens when people have such high expectations for something. When people are already so emotionally connected or think they’ve seen it at it’s best. They want so much from it. More. More. More. The bar gets set so high. When you’re successful, be aware of this, it is what it is…
As well as be aware that, it’s possible to still think that quoting the movie “Dumb and Dumber” is awesome, and in the same breath, use the word “awesome” to describe a minivan.