There is an old custom among my people. It’s the tradition of the “parting gift”. Now usually, it’s a snide or sarcastic remark usually accompanied by a hug or pat on the back. Sometimes it’s supplemented by the ending line of, “We’ll see you next________ (insert holiday here),” which is shouted at you as you drive away. Even though they know full well it will probably be years before they can clamp that iron fist of guilt around your throat and thus drag you back into the pit of despair, er, the family homestead.
Sometimes the parting gift includes food. The sandwiches made with mayonnaise, (the warm, congealed contents of which will end up in a dumpster on route 99) so you won’t have to stop on the way home to eat. The left over chicken, cookies, pie. Maybe a bottle of water, warm soda, or the leavings in the coffee pot. The parting gift can be many different things, but they all mean the same thing; we’ll miss ya. Hurry back soon.
Our youngest foster daughter, however, hasn’t quiet got the feel for this tradition and instead of leaving me with some witty, guilt ridden one liner, she’s blessed me with a doozey of a head cold. Nice. KK the Destroyer is a bit too free with her love and she’s snotted, sneezed, and slimed me on just about every inch of my person. Ewwww…
Actually, they haven’t officially left the building. Like Elvis, they’re lingering, at least until Wednesday morning. Most of their stuff is gone, except for the random few toys and clothes. I sent the scrapbook I made of the girls to Bio-Mom on Saturday. One more pick-up and I’m finished driving 40 miles (round trip) twice a week.
But I’m toying with a goodbye gift. Just a little something to mark the day as special “welcome back to your mom’s world, hope it don’t kill ya” kinda gift. No, it’s not necessary and in many ways I’d rather give them a cell phone and teach them how to dial 911 and my number, considering it would probably be more useful than a new toy, but that’s not very, um, constructive or nice. Not really.
I’d like to impart wisdom to them. You know, the kind of words you say as you drop you child off at college for the first time:
Make sure to get enough sleep
Call your mother, she’ll worry
Don’t eat too many carbs
Don’t forget to call home
Be careful who you hang out with
Do you have my cell phone number?
Don’t post nasty pictures on the internet; they’re sure to come back to haunt you
If you call and no one answers, leave a message so we know you’ve called
If you need anything, just call
Call, you don’t want to make your mother cry
Remember, I’m just a phone call away…
However, the little girls are, well, little. They don’t know how to use a phone (should have taught them) and they don’t TXT, IM, or blog. I’ll have to rely on God to watch over them. But I think I’ll remind them that:
God is always near, no matter what
Pick up your toys
Auntie loves you
Auntie Teri loves you too
Uncle Chris loves
So does Uncle Alan
Brush your teeth
Look both ways before crossing a busy street
Wash your hands
I love you
I will always love you
Parting gifts come in many shapes and sizes. Some are thoughtful, some are simply passed down through generations of grandmothers, like that Stollen recipe everyone tries to give me at Christmas. So, in parting, let me just say, again, I love you Monster and I love you too Destroyer. Or better yet:
Live long and prosper