I work in a public building on weekends. I witness many things, some uncomfortable, but some just funny because it is a common experience. This last weekend I witnessed just such a situation. It went down something like this:
“Bye! Thanks for visiting today!” I said as a family group walked past the desk towards the exit doors. They looked up and replied in kind with satisfied smiles on their faces.
After a couple of minutes, in walked the matriarch with a sheepish grin and definite purpose in her steps. At this point, another father and kids were making their way to the exit. By the time they were at the doors, the matriarch returned again with a child in tow. When she looked up at me and my jovial facial expression, she smiled and with a laugh confessed, “We each thought the other had this one, but we’d left him behind. I thought I’d better retrieve him!”. To this, I and the father at the door with the toddlers, busted out laughing and he added, “If you are a parent long enough, this will have happened to you too.” It is a true statement, which is why we could laugh instead of be horrified.
I tell this story because of the following event that happened that very evening…
As we have for 20 years, my friend and I gathered together with our families and friends at a local restaurant to celebrate our birthdays only a week apart, though she is a year younger. We laughed and ate and told stories about each other in friendship. We aggressively return to a childish demeanor at this particular event and enjoy ourselves thoroughly, making new memories. When it is all said and done, we end up going home with a lot more than we came with, not the least of which are some bags with gifts we’d exchanged and the leftovers of our dinners.
Having met everyone there after work, my husband and I left in separate cars and I took our son with me, assuming he had the girls. Evidently, he assumed I had one of the girls because when I got home with the boy, a car drove up and parked behind us. By golly, it was one set of friends from our dinner party that had come to visit at the house, I guessed. No, actually, it was that couple, but with them was my daughter whom I assumed was already home with their dad. Oh my! After 15 years one would think we were quite accustomed to her presence, yet this poor child was left behind by not just one, but both of her parents, the very same day as I had witnessed this at work. Ugh! What a small world. So I felt smaller than Thumbelina, and after more greetings and profuse apologies with gratitude, our friends deposited our daughter and departed.