Payback is a bitch. I am sure I will learn that lesson sooner or later from a sibling or friend, but for now, I’m happy to be the one to teach that lesson to those same people in my life.
Most of my friends are entering that stage of their lives where they are having kids. Which is great, its not my life path, but I am happy to see them move into another chapter of their lives and also happy that they let me tag along for parts of the ride; the fun parts exclusively.
I have a few friends, who’s kids I consider family, which is awesome. (“I don’t have friends, I have family” – Vin Diesel. Got my Vin Diesel quote into this post. Score!)
Friend’s kids are like rental cars. You get to take them out, trashing them metaphorically specaking, and then returning them to the rental company/parents with a smile and a guilt free conscience about what transpired throughout the day, because, well, it’s not your car/kid. It is really a win/win for me.
I get to do all the fun things parents imagine they will be doing with their kids, without having to deal with all the crap—literally and figuratively—that comes with being a real parent. Plus, fun Uncle is arguably the best title I’ll ever hold in my life, unless I somehow am bestowed the title of World’s Greatest Space Pirate, but I am unsure how that would happen. I am also unsure what group or figure head could even grant that title to me in any meaningful way. So fun uncle will have to do for now…
There are some serious responsibilities to being the fun uncle. Like….uh….never saying no to much of anything when the request is made, which had been a great strategy with the kids in my life up until recently. The kids ask if they can have a can of frosting for breakfast, watch a red banner horror movie, or ride their bikes off the roof into a swimming pool. As fun Uncle, I am obligated by the responsibilities of that title to say yes, as long as it won’t kill them. The bikes one just took a good strong push, but they were mostly fine. In the end, it is all great fun, but what the end of the adventure is for me, is just the beginning for my friends—the suckers parents. My friends are never as happy with the activities we have done together as the children are. I never stick around long enough to ask why that is, which is likely what kicked off what happened a few months ago
A friend of mine, who has two very beautiful little girls, called me up and put his oldest one on the phone. She was selling girl scout cookies for the first time and asked if I would help her reach her goal. Even though I am diabetic, there was no way I was going to say no to this—I cant say no, it’s the rules—and agreed to buy 10 boxes. I thought 10 boxes would make her very excited and gave myself a little pat on the back for being such a good Uncle. But I was quickly interrupted by a sweet little voice telling me, that if I really loved her, I’d buy more boxes. When I asked how many more she was thinking, I nearly dropped an f-bomb on the phone, when she told me 100 boxes would make me the best uncle ever. I don’t think she knew I couldn’t say no. but I knew I couldn’t say no and right as I stupidly agreed, I hear that same sweet little voice turn away from the phone’s receiver an whisper excitedly, “you were right daddy, he said yes,” and knew I had been played by my friend…
Three weeks later, 100 boxes of girl scout cookies arrived at my buddy’s house and when I went to pick them up, he and his wife could only keep a straight face for a couple seconds before bursting into laugher. They told me that this was payback for all the things I had done with their kids without worrying about the aftermath. They were so proud of what they had done, thinking they had taught me a lesson of some sort. Well, like the only thing they really taught me, was, pay back really is a bitch.
I waited patiently for a good opportunity and couple weeks later, I learned that their youngest daughter, who is only four would be getting up and singing her favorite song in front of her preschool class. All the accompanying family members and friends who get dragged to these kinds of boring things would also be attending the event. Normally when invited to these events I find any and every excuse I can to avoid going. I think I’ve used every excuse short of throwing myself down a flight of stairs to get out of going in the past, but I wasn’t about to miss this one for anything short of finally receiving that title of World’s Greatest Space Pirate. My friends were shocked I accepted two months prior to the show, when they first mentioned it, but they were happy to have someone else coming to see their daughter shine…and also suffer through 2 hours of 4-year-olds singing.
A few weeks before the show, I asked my friend’s daughter what she was going to sing. I wasn’t surprised to hear it would be some mundane children’s song that every other kid in the class would be singing. I, Instead talked her into trying something more original and to keep it a surprise for everyone, including mommy and daddy. This little girl is shockingly mature for her age and can keep secrets at four years old like a cold war spy. So, for two weeks, every night, she would facetime me on her Ipad to practice in the back yard together, away from the prying eyes of her parents. They didn’t really think anything of it, as I told them I would be happy to help her learn her song. It was one less miscellaneous parenting duty they had to deal with, so they were happy to let me take it off their plates. They should have known better…
On the day of the event, we all filed into the small auditorium of the Christian school—I might have forgotten to mention this was a very prestigious Christian preschool—as the kids waited anxiously on stage to start their songs. A few kids went before my buddy’s daughter. A fat little kid sang something about his dog, a cute little girl cried her way through Amazing Grace, and a group of kids sang This Little Light of Mine so off key that you couldn’t help but cringe. The crowd seemed pretty bored leading up to my buddy’s daughter getting on stage an for good reason. Had I know had a vested interest, I’d have faked a diabetic seizure and left after the fat kid’s song.
My buddy’s sweet little girl was supposed sing Jesus Loves Me according to what her parents thought and had told the school, but as she started her song, you could to see the utter confusion on their faces. The first line she uttered was, “So you’re still thinking of me, just like I know you should. I cannot give you everything, you know I wish I could. I’m so high at the moment, I’m so caught up in this…”.
The confusion seemed to hit everyone else in the auditorium at the same time, as they heard this cute, mousey voice talking about being high, young, dumb, and broke. Some people stared blankly, the ones that were a little more into music smiled or chuckled as they recognized the Khalid song, and my friend’s little girl beamed with pride like no one else that day as she sang. In that moment, I couldn’t have been prouder of my role as fun uncle the orchestration of it all. And when my friends realized their sweet, innocent baby girl was singing Kahlid’s Young, Dumb, and Broke, they turned to see me mouthing along in perfect time with her as she sang, before I turned to look at them, smiling broadly, holding up a picture of girl scout cookies on my phone, and mouthing “we are even”.
Pay back is a bitch…