It was one of those ‘time stood still moments.’ Perhaps fifty adults and maybe 30 children, all assembled on the day of my daughter’s wedding. Everything had been prepared in advance and I’d practiced my brief speech, in my formal role as ‘mother of the bride.’ Because I am an anal retentive type, I had already taken account of every possible eventuality, everything except that one.
After a few words to the adults, it was time to include the children, as speeches are especially boring for youngsters. So I called them, all the children. Invited them to join their parents for a few seconds, and of course they all did so, little obedient lambs, except one, the black sheep of the family. I had him in my sites, clearly. I could see him as he froze in response to my call, caught in the act, deer in the headlights, an immobile statue of exaggeration. No one else on the planet could hold that pose, a caricature of startled innocence. It wasn’t disobedience; but bewilderment, pure and complicated. “Parent!” I repeated as he blinked wide-eyed. His arm bent stiffly at the elbow to point to his own chest, in the universal gesture of ‘are you talking to me?’
“Yes! Where are your parents?” I yelled as my arms beckoned, huge flappy waves as everyone waited in the blistering 90 degree heat. I stood next to his father on the single step, waiting. I watched him percolate as he searched around to retrieve the lost word – what was that word again? ‘Parent’?
I saw when it stuck him, a little sharp dart of recall, a small convulsion of conviction that sparked him into movement as he skittered over to my side, a cheesy grin of recognition because progenitor elastic had snapped him back.
Next time I’ll prepare more carefully, save myself a lot of bother – one little rustle of the packet from 50 miles away will set him running – the power of Goldfish crackers still reigns supreme.
Meanwhile…….tis the season for…..? Something or other. We’re pretty much buried in Thanksgiving for now, shortly to be followed by a whole slew of birthdays, “Nonna’s” arrival before we bump into the Holiday season. That said, despite all the busyness it maybe worthwhile to pause amid the fray and spare a thought for those “abroad” Maybe you’re in need of some “festive cards” especially if your own children eschew such materials as glitter, glue and paper. I’ll make no bones about it, I plan to pass them off as our own – or maybe not. Even if you’re fully supplied with cards, it might be that you can spare a little something as a donation, a freebie, with no pay-off? I hear that there are some people like that, who give freely without any desire for a quid quo pro, although I we wouldn’t know anything about that around here. If you think that might be something that tweaks your funny bone, then nip along and say “hi de ho” to “Cordelia,” and her chums.