Just enough for Four

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The little girl could barely touch the ground with her big toe while sitting on the edge of the merry-go-round. She stretched her foot as far as she could and was able to gently push herself around. The ride crept along at a snail's pace.

She hopped off and with her hands securely on the bars, she leaned into the metal structure and pushed. She pushed and ran as fast as she could, trying not to let her legs fall under. In one motion, she jumped back onto the bar and in a cradle position, leaned back and looked up at the trees. Spinning on the merry-go-round while looking up made her dizzy and caused her to giggle. She did this over and over until she realized that the park had gone quiet.

Remembering that her shoes were placed next to her mom on the bleachers, she back to see if they were there. The shoes were gone and so was everyone else.

Panic struck and she quickly moved her head around to see if anyone was in view. The only people were those that were closing up the concession stand so she ran over and timidly asked if she could use the phone. 834-3149 was a number that she could remember easily, even at 5 years old.

Her heart sank as she listened to all of the rings. No one was home and no one was here, she thought. How could they have forgotten her?

She did not like to cry in front of people. So she waited until she got back to the playground before shedding a tear. Her mom would come back but it was getting a little dark under the shady trees and cloud cover. Waiting seemed to take forever. Her feet were dusty but the powdery dirt felt good so she drew pictures with the big toe that barely touched the ground. She sang, "Lambert, the sheepish lion" to herself to pass the time and gently pushed herself again. Finally she folded her arms on the bar in front of her and rested her head, letting her legs dangle through the bars.

The people from the concession stand came by to tell her they were leaving and asked if she'd be all right. That almost got her crying again but she said, "My mom should be here any minute."

Now she was really all alone.

Just then she looked up and saw the familiar family car pull to a stop in front of her. The windows of the car were rolled down and everyone was calling her name. Happily, she jumped off of the merry-go-round and bounded for the car. Her happiness was short-lived when she saw that everyone had a famous Top-Burger Blackberry shake in hand as well as burgers and french fries with special seasonings.

Teasing older brothers were waving shakes in front of her. She assumed that they would stop to get her something but she watched the Top Burger restaurant fade in the distance as they headed for home.

Turning toward her mother she asked how she could forget her. Her mom said, "Sorry, I counted heads and there were four." Every one giggled. Her sister's friend, Sheila, was the fourth that day. "Sheila? You counted Sheila? She has blond hair. You didn't notice that it wasn't me?" she asked.

"Sorry" her mother said. "I was in a hurry and forgot."

"And I don't get any Top Burger?"

"Sorry, I don't have any money left. I had just enough for four."

All the way home she had to endure the noises of her siblings sucking the last bit of shake through their straws and the "Ahhh.." her brothers said along with an exaggerated, "that was good." Her jaw dropped in amazement not believing this cruelty. Lisa, her sister, and Sheila gobbled up their french fries. She stoically ignored them and went into the house still in disbelief that she had been forgotten.

So do you think I am still scarred by this event??

My mom and I laughed about this for years.

I remember thinking then that I would never forget my kids and I haven't. Lost them in a store maybe, but forgetting them and DRIVING ALL THE WAY HOME? That hasn't happened yet, sheesh!


  1. Oh my goodness how scary for you. At least you can laugh about it now.

  2. Aw man! I'd say your mom owed you a mommy/daughter shake all by yourselves after that!

    And if she hasn't ponied up, it's time she did. :)


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