Sunday, March 30, 2008

In Parting, Let Me Just Say...

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

Don’t fight

Uncle Chris loves

So does Uncle Alan


Brush your teeth

Look both ways before crossing a busy street

Wash your hands

Don’t fight

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


Barrie said...

Mrs. Annie, You are wonderful. And I don't know how you're going to let them go. Barrie xo

Family Adventure said...

You gave me goose bumps and I'm having a tough time swallowing because of this big lump in my throat.

I am sending you a very big cyberhug right now. Can you feel it? Keep strong!


Patti said...

i have mastered this parting gift. so much so that when i gave one a week or so back i was told, "thank you for that parable on this holy easter."

that boy slays me...

Mrs. Annie said...

Barrie: Not so wonderful, really...

Heidi: Yeah, those lumps, well, what can I say. Thanks for the hug!

Patti: That boy sounds a lot like his mom!

Kiva said...

In our family, our parting gift is a big hug just like our greeting. Then there are little hugs for "you know I love you" and "I'm glad you're here." Then there are the BIG hugs for comfort. I'm sending you our family's BIG hug and lots of prayers for all of you.