But you know who Hollywood doesn't tell you about? The Vomit Fairy.
The evil, evil Vomit Fairy.
The Vomit Fairy isn't your friend. He doesn't leave money or bow-wrapped presents. He barges into your house unannounced in the middle of the night and ruins your kids' pillowcases, sheets, clothes, carpets and Joey Votto Bobblehead doll (who was supposed to ward off such a villain but instead just bobbled his head in disbelief). He turns a perfectly good night of sleep into an after-hours rave, highlighted by the bands Washing Out The Stains and Gonna Be Tired In The Morning. He's so scary that even the Closet Monster, who usually peeks out and (somehow) removes my daughters' socks from their feet while they sleep, hides in my closet for dear life.
I had never experienced the full wrath of the Vomit Fairy until last week, when my youngest daughter was attacked around 10 p.m. I was downstairs doing work (and by "doing work" I mean "clicking 'like' on Facebook status updates") when I heard the Vomit Fairy lurking. He's quiet as can be until the moment he strikes—but when he strikes he's loud.
I came running up the steps only to find my wife already in the kids' bedroom, with this panicked look on her face.
"Is everything OK?"
"ANNA THREW UP EVERYWHERE!"
Vomit Fairy 1, Team Klems 0.
I began the clean-up process, which starts with bathing my half-asleep 2-year-old in the bathroom sink. My wife, doing her best not to let the Vomit Fairy's stench strike her too, removed all the sheets and piled them up for me to wash in the basement. We scrubbed and we scrubbed until our scrubbers were sore, and dressed Anna's bed in a new set of sheets. We laid her back down and kissed her goodnight. And she thanked us for all our hard work by vomiting all over everything again.
Vomit Fairy 2, Team Klems 0.
Over the next two days, the Vomit Fairy struck every member of my family. He got my wife. He got my oldest daughter. He even infected Steven, my HDTV, and Sylvia, our Cabbage Patch Kid, who, for whatever reason, had been standing in Timeout for days (I think my girls forgot about her). I cared for every one of them, making sure they had all the blankets and hugs and puke-pots they needed. I read books. I snuggled. I let them scare me with the Jack-in-the-Box just so they'd crack a smile and forget about how awful they felt, if even for a moment.
I did all this because that's what Dads do when the Vomit Fairy strikes (especially when our tag-team partner, Mom, is out of commission). We get stronger and braver. We make sacrifices (like no sleep and letting Facebook status updates go unliked). We care for our families and do our best to make them well again. We knock that Vomit Fairy down for attacking our family and tell it to never bring its ugly face around our house again.1 Then we pound our chests.
Of course, that last part never works and the Vomit Fairy strikes one final blow. The next day, after everyone healed up, I got sick. It was awful and terrible. But thankfully I didn't have to battle alone anymore. And, if you're as lucky as I am, that family you loved and cared for will turn around and care for you.2
Maybe Hollywood should make a movie about that.
1 While I've never actually seen the Vomit Fairy, I'm pretty confident he looks something like this.
2 Though if any of them pulls a fork out of their doctor bag and you ask, "Hey what's that for?" and they respond "Don't you worry about it, now bend over," then trust me: The last thing you are going to feel is better.
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