It wasn’t a holiday we celebrated, exactly. After all, life here was a succession of their tricks and my treats. It was just how we rolled on The Three.
With four sons, the trick factor was through the roof. Oddly, this seemed to bring a concurrent dip in the treat index, a curious phenomenon that Mr. Schrock’s children would have done well to note. Besides, with all that action, who needed a day of sanctioned chicanery and the eating of sugar ‘til their teeth fell out and my own head exploded? Not me, and that was a fact.
It was Kid Kaboom, the blue-jeaned bottle rocket, who was responsible for much of the mayhem. I hadn’t forgotten the vinegar ice cubes he’d gifted me with, completely ruining the Diet Coke I’d called for one day.
And who could forget the alarm clock trick he and his brothers had engineered one fateful night? Their dad and I had gone away for the evening, leaving the inmates to run the asylum. My maternal radar had pinged a warning when we returned. There was treachery afoot. I could feel it. could smell it. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
At 3:45 a.m., we found out what it was. There we were, slumbering peacefully in our PJs when suddenly an unearthly racket commenced. A loud beeping shattered the night. What in the…?
We jolted upright, hearts thundering, eyes straining for the dump truck that was backing up, ready to crush us in our bed. As one, we lurched toward the source of the sound, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision somewhere at the foot of the bed, leaving me with a scrape on my grill and a ding on my quarter panel. Where was it coming from?
When the fog cleared slightly, we figured it out. Those kids had dropped an extension cord out their bathroom window overhead, down to the alarm clock they’d duct taped to the window. Outside the screen. With the volume jacked into the red.
That may or may not have been the day we changed our last will and testament, leaving all our earthly goods to a charity called Feed My Starving Children. After receiving a dose of nocturnal terror from the “starving children” we’d fed for years, we may have willed our estate to truly starving kids who weren’t ruining our Cokes and pulling pranks. (“May.” I said “may.”)
There was another smaller bedtime caper that he’d orchestrated once. Having sent them off to bed, we had gone into FCM, or Full Collapse Mode, a state that parents everywhere will know.
It’s the end of the day. You’re tired, shot, pooped from working, raising kids, helping with homework and making dinner (you know — the short list). You’ve got everyone bedded down for the night, each in their little stalls. They’ve been pottied, prayed and kissed, and now it’s time. It’s time for your collapse.
Just as your exhausted posterior begins to sink into your share of the cushions, you hear it. A tink-tink-tink on the window. What on God’s green earth? And like that, your tired husband, who’s just settled his own exhausted posterior, finds one last shot of energy, bolts up the stairs and finds the source of the noise.
It was Kid Kaboom, caught red-handed with the tape measure he’d lowered, using the metal tip to tap on the window. Clearly, he’d gotten out of bed. Clearly, he needed redirection, and clearly, he was stunned at the speed of his father’s reaction, judging by the new placement of his eyebrows. The only thing that wasn’t clear was whether or not they’d come back down again in time for the upcoming school pictures.
Thankfully, in the circle of life, there are times when the scales of justice come into alignment. Several weeks before Halloween, it was this very fellow who, in the middle of tossing a closet, discovered a box he’d hidden long ago. It was a roll of trick toilet paper. You know, the kind you can’t tear? Yeah. That.
With a wicked chuckle, he carefully positioned it, gleefully anticipating the look on the poor schlub’s face who would find himself stranded. Only to find, hours later, that he was the one stranded. To quote his Grandpa Yoder, “It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”
See what I mean? See? Now you know why the Schrocks don’t need to celebrate Halloween. Oh, costumes would be fun, sure. In fact, I think it would be fun to dress up as the Trumps. Mr. Schrock could be The Donald, wearing a wig with that combed-over swirl and the signature Trump scowl. I could be Ivana or whoever the newest Trump woman is, wearing all kinds of bling and heels.
He’ll never do it, so I’m not holding my breath over that. I am holding my breath, though, over what trick will come next. That, and updating the will while putting in phone calls to some grandparents to see if they’ve changed their minds about shared custody. Hey. A girl can hope, can’t she?