Family Night July 2010 After work we meet at home. Gather the kids. Listen to Lola be sad that the friend she spent the day with was catty for a few hours when another friend joined in. Lock dogs in kitchen where they might or might not urinate and defecate all over the tiles we just paid someone an exorbitant amount we could not afford but it must be taken into account we have never paid for this in six years of living here and have three children two large dogs and an assortment of cats to clean before Dakota's birthday. Make sure cats have food and water in sunroom. Head to Round Table, eat, talk and play numerous rounds of air hockey. I'm present. I'm there. I'm happy. We are all happy, from what I can tell of flashing teeth and open armed laughing. Within five minutes of leaving, I am crying, Lola is worried, Dakota is pissed off, Ian is whatever and I could not speak for Mr. Curry, who held his temper and his tongue. Instead of feeling upset, I felt devastated. Crushed. Doomed to live in a family that cannot spend a weekly night happily together without the glow of tv and computer or the ego boosting and life is exciting ring ring of cell. Also angry at Mr. Curry. We headed home, silently. I got home and began weeping and vacuuming, which now I realize is creepily similar to the behavior of the mad housewife in American Beauty and also reminded me of The Dishwasher's Tears. I served it's purpose, which was to hide my sobbing and to clean all the goddamn hair off the carpet from those goddamn fucking dogs- my thoughts at the time. Mr. Curry comforted Lola and then came in the sunroom to talk to me. By then I was sitting on a chair, defeated by the smoking vacuum. I sobbed, we talked, and then he listened for almost ten minutes. We gathered the kids and the dogs and went to the local park and played soccer. Twilight set in and we kicked on the enormous grass field with only the minor mishap of Lola's ongoing sulking, something she has taken to doing since she saw Ever on the ultrasound. Oh shit, there's a real baby coming to live with my parents. At one point I said to Lola in admittedly a slightly threatening tone: We are going to spend Family Night together miserable or happy- but we will be together. Dakota laughed in the distainful and mocking tone that teenagers perfect for honing in on their parent's faultlines- That is a terrible idea Mom. Well, I said, summing up what must be the reply of hundreds and thousands of parents on Friday nights around the world, When you have your own family, you can do it however you want.