Last night while Rich was in bed next to me falling asleep, he burst out laughing. What’s so funny?” I demanded, as I tried to read my book. “I was just thinking about Caleb….”and he shook the bed with laughter. Then we argued about who’s fault it was.
Seth had a baseball game that afternoon. Our family has been going back and forth to the little league park so many times over the years that, at this time of year, it almost feels like home away from home. I pull into the parking lot at the field and everyone runs off to their perspective places. There are three games going on at once and lots of parents and kids having fun. There is a food shack with grilled foods and snacks and drinks.
Yesterday, I got there first with Caleb, Seth, and Sarah. Rich came about 45 minutes later and we leaned against the fence talking and laughing as we watched Seth and his team play. At one point, we talked to Caleb because he had come over to us to ask for money. I gave him a five and he came back with a lollipop for Sarah. Meanwhile, I told my husband every detail about my day and he in turn told me all the latest with work. We cheered for our Seth as he batted, played shortstop, and did some pitching. Seth was having a great game. In fact, he ended up getting his third game ball of the season.
Sarah and I had already played with a caterpillar, sticks, stones, and leaves. We had “made a castle” for the caterpillar. I had forced her to drink a water bottle and played with her on my lap in the chair Rich had brought. She did math on a piece of paper and kept asked me questions. I informed her whenever she got a math problem wrong and she would say, “How do YOU know?” like she didn’t believe I had ever gone to school. (she’s never seen me there.) ‘Round about 7:45 we started getting bored and when she said she was getting cold I jumped right on it and said immediately to my husband, “I’m going home with Sarah, she’s cold.” And I left.
Sarah had a snack and then I tucked her into bed. The lawnmower man came to the door to be paid and I wrote him a check. Grace called and needed to be picked up so I passed the message on to Rich so he could get her on the way home. Forty five minutes after I got home they arrived and Grace came through the door full of energy and song and conversation. Seth came in with his game ball and a treat from McDonalds. Jacob and Emily were home, too, and soon the five of us, Rich, Grace, myself, Emily, and Jacob were warming up dinner, talking, teasing, and catching up with each other’s stories. It was 9:00pm and there were about 3 conversations going on all at the same time and lots of action as we all used the fridge and microwave. I made strawberry/banana/pineapple milkshakes for Rich and myself and we drank them out of tall mugs. Grace sat cross legged on the kitchen island and talked about how she wished we could always live together, all of us in one big house. I sent Seth off to go take a shower.
And then……..BOOM…… Caleb burst into the house. “YOU GUYS DITCHED ME!” he exclaimed. All conversation stopped and we all looked at him as tears began forming in his eyes. I started screaming as I realized what had happened. Come to find out, his Dad left him at the park because “I didn’t tell him that I was leaving without Caleb when I took Sarah home.”
After the games were over, people were leaving and Caleb left his friends and wandered all over the place looking for us until he found Noah, who is Seth’s best friend and the son of Seth’s baseball coach. So Noah took Caleb to his Dad, who tried calling and texting us. But we were busy partying in our kitchen and never got the messages. Coach brought Caleb home.
Grace and I ran to our poor poor boy and gave him a long and comforting hug. After all, it was a two hug problem. He started saying, “It’s okay, I’m okay, I’m NOT CRYING!” Emily told him not to feel bad, one time her aunt got left behind in Canada.
Rich was laughing later on that night instead of sleeping because he was wondering how long it would have taken us to notice that Caleb wasn’t home. He had truly believed that I had brought him home with me and I had truly believed that Rich had brought him home with him. I had assumed that Caleb was playing outside instead of coming in the side door with the others. Looking back, I remembered that smart Seth had asked, “Where’s Caleb?” but I had truthfully replied, “I don’t know” because, like I said, I thought he was somewhere around the house, I just hadn’t seen him yet.
I went on and on as much as I could to make Rich feel guilty about forgetting his own son but it didn’t work. After laughing about it in bed, he confessed, “I did tell him I was sorry when I tucked him into bed.” I reached over to rub his back and told him he was a good Dad. “He told me it was okay”, he continued, “he knew it was your fault.” Then the back rub turned into a smack as I told him he was a jerk, “Caleb would never say that!”
And thus ended another day.
I laughed out loud when I got to the part in the story where Caleb exclaimed,you guys ditched me! Too funny! I’m sure almost every large family( and not so large ) has a similar story.
Oh, Shanda – ! We’ve done this… a couple times over. I hate to even say. But now the stories are so so funny and we roll with laughter. This will be one of those for you guys! Glad he’s home safe and sound. He and Christian and Shelton will all have their ditched stories.
I laughed so hard! Thanks for putting a smile on my face today!!!
That’s a great story! (And yes you are most excellent parents!)
Oh, my, I think this has happened to every parent at some point–at least every parent with multiple children. My little brother once got left at a Goodwill and wasn’t missed until we went through the drive-thru at MacDonald’s and realized there were one too many hamburgers…
I really like your honesty, your up-frontness about some of the slips in your parenting, or the little snags in your relationship with your husband. And I know your relationships and your parenting are actually as good as they can be, because of the openness with which you choose to share some details. I was left at church or something one time. (I was the oldest, the only girl in 7.) And in March, the MOMMA of 10 children got left at church by her family. That was so funny!!!
Too funny! I was chuckling as I read. 😉