It’s difficult to avoid sounding preachy or judgmental when sharing a story about adults who act like children. But let me try.
The earliest memory I have of my childhood is of a particular moment that according to my mother had to have happened when I was no older than two. However, if I ever had a birthday party as a two year old, of that I have no recollection.
My two year old granddaughter, on the other hand, may have had a party to remember last Sunday. There were enough guests and action going on that something about it should be burned into her little memory bank until she’s at least 94. Dressed in a pink tiara and ballerina tutu, she was more in awe with the colorful wrapping paper than she was with some of the many gifts she
received, which included a lavender tricycle, a doll, stuffed animals and a red and white play kitchen. The attendees included the usual: family, friends, neighbors, neighbors’ kids, and in-laws.
Everyone had a wonderful time. Well, it seemed almost everyone. Two of the attendees, who happen to be very nice people, have had a feud of sorts going on for the past 18 months. It turns out the teenage daughter of one neighbor was walking their pet Chihuahua dog when the dog, apparently not realizing or
caring whose property it was, stopped to deposit Chihuahua poop in another neighbor’s yard yet close to the curb. The offended neighbor witnessed the canine’s call from Mother Nature and asked the teen to pick up the fresh deposit. Teens are not in the habit of taking along a pick-up-the-doggie-poop bag. When the teen flatly refused, so began and continues the row.
So at the party the rivals kept their distance, being careful not to be in conversation with anyone else which would place them together in the moment at any time. One ate outside on the patio, while the other ate inside.
The two year olds and toddlers, oblivious to this bad blood, played alongside each other with the play kitchen and judging from their faces were enjoying themselves.
Our neighbor’s faces on the other hand would alternate with theatrical precision between the ‘tragic’ and the ‘comical’.
Meanwhile, stuffed animals were played with, shared and babbled about nearby, while other apparently stuffed things were kept up on the other side of the room.
It turns out one neighbor brought over some cookies and cleverly steered a conversation in such a way to point out by inference that the other neighbor brought nothing. All the while, both were apparently oblivious that the honoree with the pink tiara and ballerina tutu was eating and sharing a piece of birthday cake, shaped in the face of a cat, with her toddler friends.
I’m not sure what the spiritual status was of these two actually nice people but if ‘love your neighbor as you love yourself’ had any meaning for either of them it was difficult to tell.
In hindsight, it was apparent that there was a contrast between a quietly planned and orchestrated feud between two people who should know better, with the noisy cooperative chaos of living in the moment by several who don’t know better.
I’m sure most of what went on at this joyous occasion will be long forgotten one day. There’s enough stuff crammed into my old memory bank anyway as it is. But perhaps the one thing that might qualify as memorable is that the honoree, besides the fact she’s the cutest little thing this side of heaven who had a grand time celebrating, never had to have her diaper changed once the entire afternoon.