It was June, the summer after 6th grade. My sisters and I had some sort of fake slumber party on the hide-a-bed. I don’t remember the details. The middle of the day on Saturday, Mommy and Daddy had gone out for a walk.
My sisters and I wanted to make Daddy something for Father’s Day but we needed supplies. There was a JoAnn’s not too far away; Alfred and I rode our bikes there frequently, just over a mile. Munchkinhead was too Us, a few months later
little to ride that far; she was only about 3 years old. We decided we’d walk.
We cleaned up our slumber party. Sort of. Figuring we’d want to play again later, instead of folding the hide-a-bed back into the couch, we made the bed up and tucked all our stuffed animals into it.
We cleaned anything else we’d been playing with. We left a message for Mommy and Daddy in the living room, checked that all the doors were locked, took our house key and set off for the store, pulling Munchkinhead in the little red wagon. We took an umbrella with us in case it rained while we were away.
We were pleased with ourselves, feeling we had remembered to do everything we were supposed to do. We were having fun together and excited about making something nice for Daddy. How were we supposed to know Mommy and Daddy hadn’t taken a house key with them?
They couldn’t get in. They couldn’t get our message. They didn’t know where we were. And, it had started raining. Apparently, these circumstances make parents freak out.
Mommy and Daddy found us with the little red wagon, next to the McDonald’s, heading out of the Plaza parking lot.
I don’t remember what Daddy got for Father’s Day that year. It couldn’t have been good because I remember we spent a lot of time looking at puffy paint supplies. I know what I got though. Grounded. For being irresponsible by not anticipating the facts I didn’t know. And for making my sisters go with me. They didn’t get in trouble at all. “They’re too young to know better.” Harumph. And yes, 20 years later I am still bitter.
But I’ll tell you this much, as a grown-up, I’m pretty darn good at anticipating a whole lot of “what-if” scenarios and preparing for most of them.