No Presents

Over New Year’s we had some friends over. They’re a couple that we’ve known for a long time, and we typically exchange “couple” gifts. This year, we made a mistake.

They arrived at the house, we welcomed them in, and then handed each other our presents.

C was very excited. He watched patiently as we opened them, even cheered us on with “Hooray! Presents!”

Then we were done. He looked over at our guest, “Where’s mine?”

Whoops. Now we had four adults looking at each other for hints as to what to do. We tried to explain that there weren’t any for him.

He was clearly heartbroken. “But why?”

Great question. Basically, because your parents are idiots and didn’t see this coming. We didn’t say that, though. We tried to explain that – well, we said something, but I’m not sure that even I followed the logic of it.

“Why no presents for me?”

Now, it had moved from embarrassing to a bit painful. The little guy was really sad. He wasn’t crying or manipulating or anything – just confused and sad.

I have to admit that we fell back on that old adult trick of bustling off to the next thing: “Okay, Time to eat! Come on everyone! Let’s go eat! Uh, and play! Let’s go eat and play!”

He followed along like a good little guy, so I held back from the group and snuck him a wrapped Christmas candy. It wasn’t a present, but at least he got to unwrap something and I knew that he loved that kind of candy. I handed it to him with a whispered “sorry, big guy”.

He replied with his own whisper, “it’s okay, daddy. It’s okay.”

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