Last year, at this time, I reported on what I called the "ring season" -- waiting for Older Daughter and her long-time Boyfriend to decide whether and when to tie the knot.
So my alternate plan, this morning, was to tell you all about how I think I successfully programmed the DVR this weekend. Believe me, that would have been funny stuff.
But, then, reality intrudes....
Oldest Son called the house last night around 9:30pm. When Long Suffering Spouse and I didn't answer, he assumed we were already asleep, presumably in the den with the TV on.
Most nights, this would be a safe assumption. So, in order to test his hypothesis, Oldest Son called his youngest brother on his cell phone.
As it happened, Long Suffering Spouse and I were in the car with Youngest Son, returning Middle Son to college. I heard Youngest Son talking to someone and I didn't hear Middle Son respond, so I guessed he was on the phone. But I didn't give a moment's thought about who his caller might be. It wasn't until we were on our way home that Youngest Son told us that his brother had called. "He wants you to call him when you get home," Youngest Son told us.
"Why?" I asked. In my experience, phone calls at night seldom bring good news. Come to think of it, neither do phone calls during the day.
"I don't know," said Youngest Son. "But he sounded happy."
"Are you sure it was your brother?" I asked. Oldest Son is certainly on my good list these days (see this post for details) but he's kind of a dour sort even when things are going swimmingly. When he's happy, he usually sounds sort of neutral -- and when Oldest Son is unhappy, Bruce Banner's got nothing on him.
"Why do we have to wait until we get home to call?" asked Long Suffering Spouse.
"I don't know; it's just what he said," said Youngest Son.
I've always had trouble following directions. I called Oldest Son on my cell phone.
"Older Daughter is going to be mad at me," he began.
He was going to speak to his girlfriend's father when he was in Texas for Christmas, he told us, but he "chickened out." He'd had the ring for some time, though, and he finally worked up the nerve to call on Sunday afternoon. No, I didn't ask whether he called to ask permission, or to seek the father's blessing, or merely made a courtesy call. Does it really matter?
Long Suffering Spouse and I debated over how to break the news to Older Daughter. She's due in Chicago today, spending the last few days of her Christmas break at our home before returning to Champaign and nursing school. She'd been staying at the home of the Boyfriend's family in Indiana over the New Year holiday.
I was all in favor of not telling her until she got here. I'd be safely at work, I thought, and her sister (who is still at home, with a week to go on her college break) would be only too willing to fill her in. But Long Suffering Spouse felt that we should let her know right away.
Long Suffering Spouse made the call. I curled up in the fetal position underneath the dining room table.
Older Daughter handled it well, though.
"WHAT?" she screamed, when Long Suffering Spouse broke the news. "ARE YOU JOKING?"
Yes, that's it. We are always calling her late at night with news of fake engagements. We're such kidders.
Older Daughter told me this morning that she and the Boyfriend talked long into the night after that call. I'd hate to have heard any of that conversation.
But, alas, I probably will.