Tonight I was in a restaurant with my entire family. My family never seems very big to me until we decide to gather in a public place. Then it feels like an entire nation of people. And also I think we usually look like a big polygamist group because the women outnumber the men and most of my nieces and nephews look to be about the same age.
If only I could convince my sisters into polygamy hair.
The kids were tired. A couple of them were falling asleep at the table. All of them looked like they were twenty minutes from a total meltdown. Some of the adults appeared that way, too. By the time we were leaving the restaurant, I think everyone was looking forward to just getting all of the children home, pumped full of Ambien, lights out, and in bed.
JUST KIDDING! We aren't that irresponsible! We use nightlights for the little ones.
It was raining so the "men" had gone out to get the cars while the rest of us waited just inside the front area of the restaurant. I put the word "men" in quotation marks so you would be clued in that the word doesn't have the same definition in my family as it might in yours, and it certainly doesn't include me.
In my family, the men are the dads and my younger and very pregnant sister Micalyne, who I often call "the son Bob never had." The women are the females, minus my younger sister Micalyne. The children are anyone under 18. And I'm the prodigal son who swears in front of the kids and hasn't given Bob and Cathie 40 grandchildren yet.
On a side note, I'm not one bit upset about not being one of the men in the family because it usually means that I don't have to trek out into the rain and get the car or be in charge of the barbecue.  
We waited inside, holding up the kids who were so tired they could barely stand. Things seemed peaceful. We were ready to go.
And then, suddenly, 8-year-old nephew leaned forward and barfed ALL over the floor.
I saw it happen. It made a splashing sound. I smelled it. I was standing just next to him. But it took a few seconds to compute. And I think that was the case for everyone else too because we all sort of just stood around him for much longer than you would expect not really saying or doing anything about it.
And then pandemonium struck.
You see, my family, my flesh and blood, the people I love more than I love anyone else in this world, aren't great in barf crisis. I know this because when I was seven and I threw up all over the family tent at 1:00 in the morning the last time we went camping together, Bob hauled us all into the car and drove us home and Cathie rode with her head out the window, only pulling it back into the car long enough to periodically inform me that I was going to be dropped off at the next boarding school we passed.
In her defense, I had thrown up a corn dog. Projectile vomit. Seven times. And, although probably unintentional, one of the projections hit her square in the face.
When my nephew blew his chunks, my family members began to scatter. It was every man for himself. Children fled to the parking lot. My siblings tried to blend into the crowd, mostly out of embarrassment. Someone had the good sense to quickly pull the nephew outside so he could aim the rest of his EXCESSIVE puking into some bushes.
The nephew's mother took responsibility for the indoor disaster while the nephew's father tried to get him cleaned up outside. My sister hovered over the puke, politely ushering people away from it while Bob went searching for someone who worked there. Cathie stood in a corner, her nose upturned and an ever-so-slight but constant head-shaking.
This all seemed like pretty good timing since my other nephew had urinated on me earlier in the day in a place and time in which I could not get to a change of clothes for many hours.
We finally got into the cars and fled the scene. A scene to which we are positive we are not welcome to return. The nephew confirmed that he actually felt pretty good now and was maybe even a little hungry again so could we please get some mac n' cheese on the way home?
I'm probably done eating for a while.
~It Just Gets Stranger