We went to Boston yesterday for a whale watch. It was the first whale watch of my life, and it was the first for the kids as well.
We were excited. Most of the day went exceptionally well.
One moment was exactly the opposite of exceptionally well.
We stopped at Jeff Kinney's bookstore in Plainville, MA on the way down. Kinney is the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, which children adore and buy in bushels. We explored the shop. Perused titles. Bought books. I saw Jeff Kinney and waved. He was busy with customers and we were in a hurry or I would've waited to chat with him. Maybe next time.
And yes, he didn't have any of my books in stock, but I'll forgive him for that. Perhaps he doesn't know that I lived about two miles from his store for a good portion of my life. Perhaps he doesn't realize that many of my books mention the area of Massachusetts where is store is located and I have actually set my next book in his neck of the woods. Maybe he just hasn't gotten around to reading any of my books yet. There are a lot of books in the world and a limited number of hours. Regardless of the absence of the works of Matthew Dicks, it was a beautiful store.
Opening a bookstore is a dream that Elysha and I have shared for a long time. It was a little inspiring to see his shop doing so well. Now all I have to do is sell a bajllion books and build a store of my own.
The whale watch was excellent. The ocean was extremely choppy, with swells of 3-5 feet, but we saw humpback whales breech over and over again. They flapped their fins and tails at us and came along side the boat, close enough to almost touch. The crew told us that they haven't seen this many whales breech all season long. Apparently the rough water is tough on the stomach but excellent for whale watching.
The bartender also told me that in the ten years she had been working on the ship, this was the first time she felt like she might throw up. The swells and cop were that bad. In fact, people all over the ship were getting sick.
This explains why our three year-old son, Charlie, threw up about nine seconds after he ate a piece of chocolate. Thankfully, he was sitting about a foot away from me and managed to contain the mess to his own clothing. We stripped him down to his underwear and he was fine. Bounced back like a champ. Onward to the whales!
Later, when he and I were at the front of the boat, watching the whales together, he threw up again. This time it wasn't so good. I was holding him in my arms, and he managed to almost completely cover me in vomit before throwing up into my mouth. It was horrifying. It was disgusting. It was perhaps one of the most disgusting moments of my life.
But it was Charlie, so somehow, it was okay. I never felt sick. Never felt angry or annoyed. Just bad for the little guy, even though I was covered in his wretch.
Parenthood boiled down to its essence.
We were about 90 minutes from port, so I washed my clothes in the restroom sink, put them back on soaking wet and stinking, and enjoyed our ride home while Elysha, who also wasn't feeling well, slept and Charlie sang and Clara drew.
You might think that spending hours in vomit-infused clothing would ruin my day. You might think that having your son throw up in your mouth might ruin your life.
But no. I waved to Jeff Kinney. Bought a book. Ate fish and chips at Legal Seafood. Saw enormous whales leap from the ocean and wave to me with their fins and tails. Ate some macaroni and cheese on the way home.
A gallon or so of vomit couldn't ruin a day like that.