Blaming Grandpa

This morning, at the unholy hour of five-thirty a.m., the phone next to my bed rings. It startles me from a deep and peaceful sleep. My heart jumps, knowing if the phone rings that early, the news can only be bad.

I stumble for the phone to see who is calling.

Without my contacts or glasses, I am essentially blind, and the most I can make out is our last name.

In a panic, I answer the phone, praying that the Husband (who is traveling as usual this week) is not in some dire situation requiring either bail money or an E.R. visit.

The squeaky, giggling voice of my oldest son says, "APRIL FOOL'S, MOM!"

Then I hear him fall down in a fit of hysterical laughter.

He had used my cell phone to call our house.

At five-freaking-thirty in the morning.

I lay my head back on the pillow, exasperated, and try to find a reason not to take him out of this world (after all, I did bring him into it, or so the saying goes). Unable to go back to sleep, and struggling for patience, I head downstairs and begin the breakfast preparations for my early risers.

It turns out that I was not the only victim of McKay's pranks. He had switched everyone's coats and backpacks around in the mudroom lockers. He filled a squirt bottle with water and secretly squirted his sister in the back of the head. He left crazy notes. He slipped contraband items into his brother's school backpack.

He was a troll. And all before the sun was even up.

Watching him run around pulling all these stunts, I realized something. He is a miniature version of his Grandpa.
My Dad is the king of April Fool's Day. All through my childhood, he was the master prankster. Every year, you never knew what to expect. He knew just how to catch you by surprise and do something you could not have imagined.

Like the time he nailed all my shoes to the floor.

Yes, to the carpet. In our house.

Or when he woke me up in the middle of the night and told me I had missed the bus and was late for school, but waited until I was showered and getting ready to mention his little joke.

And his pranks were not merely reserved for April Fool's Day. Ice cold water was routinely dumped over the top of the shower curtain. Waking up to colored milk was a disturbingly-common occurrence in my youth. And I will never forget the time my Mom put hair dye in my Dad's hair and shut off all the water in the house so he would be unable to wash it out.

Let's just say that I learned at a very early age to never be surprised at anything.

And so I will humor the little boy in this house. I will smile, and laugh, and tell him that he got me good. But he should know this:


That five-thirty wake-up call will one day return to haunt him, probably about the time he turns 16, and longs to sleep until noon.

And if he gets mad?

Well, I'll just tell him to blame it all on Grandpa.