The Long Goodbye

As some of you probably know, some very good friends are in the process of moving. They’re following work to a distant country known as “Pennsylvania”. We have actually been to this country once or twice, and know it primarily as the land of chocolates, trains, and Hakeems.

The neighborhood threw them a going away party last weekend at a local park. It was a lot of fun. The kids played in the playground, the adults chatted – a great get together, culminating in farewell speeches and gifts.

My wife was the first to give a “we’ll miss you & good luck” speech. It was a good speech, but kind of long. By the time she sat down, C (our 5 year old) was so antsy, he was hopping from foot to foot. To help keep him quiet, J gave him the bag of going away presents that everyone had put together. His job was to hold on to it, and then give it to her after all the speeches were done.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of speeches – most of which were even longer than my wife’s. By the time they were over, poor C was in a daze. He snapped out of it and hurried over to the guest of honor. Just as she was standing and saying “Thank you” and “if you all don’t mind, I’d like to say a few things,” my son jumped in front of her.

He’d completely forgotten about the presents, but knew he was supposed to do something. He overrode her with his “announcer” voice, yelling ”Okay! Now it’s time for the show!” He struck a dramatic pose.

My wife swooped in and carried him away.

It was a shame. I really wanted to see the show.

I had been holding my youngest this whole time. He twisted around to look at me. “I don’t understand!” he whispered.

“At some parties, only the mommies are in the show,” I whispered back. He clearly didn’t believe me, so I gestured for him to look around. All the men were sitting on the picnic benches. Some were holding kids, some weren’t. All were sitting quietly, and had been through the entire series of speeches.

He started to giggle. “That’s silly,” he said.

“We don’t mind,” I whispered back. “We get plenty of chances to talk.”

He nodded and stuck his thumb back in his mouth.

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