Imagine my life as a box set.
Not some dinky little collection, hastily thrown together for the making of a quick buck, but the Ultra-Super-Mega Deluxe Collector’s Edition box set which comes in an attractive yet sturdy slipcase (with room for additional volumes) and includes a special offer for a numbered and etched lithograph.
Something like that.
Let’s do a quick recap to see what events brought us to that great, grand and glorious day, December 5, 1993, the day The Next Chosen One was born . . .
Season one is filled with unspeakable joy. We learn a lot about my mother, a school teacher named Phyllis. How she would be the honored vessel, selected by the gods to give birth to The First Chosen One. Me (henceforth, TFCO). She is a whirlwind of laughter, beauty, and brains. Only from genes as magnificent as hers could such a child be manufactured. She loves him. Cherishes him. Imparts upon him her stunning yet lighthearted smile. The future indeed looked bright . . .
But season one ends in tragedy. Phyllis stumbles one morning and as a result develops a blood clot. She dies on a cold, sad October morning, leaving TFCO and his father alone and despondent. A true cliffhanger . . .
As season two opens, the father bundles up TFCO and moves back home, where into his pit of despair steps a friend from old. This is Phoebe. Sparks fly and they wed on that most romantic of days, February 14, 1970. TFCO is oblivious, busy eating and crying and burping and so on, but viewers are filled with hope, aware that a worthy and blessed maternal presence has entered his tiny little life.
Fast forward. A bunch. As season twenty-four unfolds, we prepare to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of The Grand Patriarch and Matriarch. The summer is filled with familial joy and much feting. But there are surprises afoot, for not only is there rejoicing in the longevity of life and love, it is revealed that TFCO’s drop-dead gorgeous wife, on the far left, has a bun in the oven! The Next Chosen One (henceforth, TNCO) is in utero, the first great-grandchild, and there is much merriment amidst the members of the family.
But as the confetti settles, there is a touching moment where TFCO’s mother, in a tender moment of reflection, confesses that she feels a certain disconnect in relation to TNCO. The audience learns that following the wedding on that chilly February day, despite the fact that she accepted TFCO as her own and cared for him as only a true mother could, she never officially adopted him as her legal child. And so, as season twenty-four closes, we witness a most unusual courthouse session. In a wooden and shadowed hall, with only the family and a judge present, an adoption is finalized. Obligations are sworn to be upheld, even as they have long since come to fruition, and papers are signed. The judge laughs at the craziness and sincerity of it all as the credits roll.
Season twenty-five opens with much pacing, pain, and pushing. And on December 5, 1993, as a harsh North Dakota winter hammers away outside, TNCO is born. He is a screaming, projective-vomiting, pouting, red-headed bundle of first-born joy, and grandma – a term she can now claim, with papers to prove it – holds him with a steadiness of hand and a gentleness of heart that only a grandma can possess. The audience is in tears . . .
. . . as she snuggles with him and reads to him of Elmo from books made of cardboard. His life begins in the grip of a loving family . . .
. . . and he grows strong. Learns to smile at the simplicity of a life lived surrounded by love and laughter . . .
. . . and discovers girls, and the phone, and admits that he still likes playing with Legos.
The audience is aware that we are closer to the end of my series than the beginning. These past forty seasons have been filled with equal parts pleasure and pain, brightness and boredom. And surely there are seasons still to come, plenty of cliffhangers and premiers to endure.
But this series will be judged by the spinoffs it creates. And I’m particularly proud of this one. As he enters his fifteenth season, the future is brighter still. So stay tuned, dear viewer. The best is yet to come . . .
Sunday, May 14, 2016 – UPDATE!!
The series was almost cancelled. In early July of 2015, the nefarious network almost killed off the main character. The outcry was loud and raucous. NOT TFCO!! But the fates wiggled their fanciful fingers and in stepped TNCO!!
The Crowd Goes WILD!!!! “CUBS WIN CUBS WIN CUBS WIN!” wild.
Remember the Matriarch? She saw a hockey game and laughed the whole time. Kid in a candy store laughter.
Happy Mother’s Day, mama …