On the July 4th weekend that was her 7th birthday, Sarah packed her stuff and drove off with her Dad and brother for a big weekend.
Mom had a quiet time at home and with friends so when they came home on the night of the 6th, we gathered in my room to talk about all the stuff they did. Her brother went off to his room with a snack but I noticed Sarah still hanging around with her hands behind her back.
“What is it Sarah?” I asked. She got tears in her eyes and said, “I brought this brown paper bag to Dad’s to put all my birthday presents in but he forgot my birthday.” she sobbed. She held up the wrinkled, many-times folded brown paper bag to show me how empty it was.
Inside me I raged! Against the thoughtless father……….against my daughter having to experience this heartache…….I wanted to scream out nasty names for the drunk father that forgot everything always!
I bunched my hands into fists to my sides for a second then reached for her and pulled her into my arms. “Oh baby!” I cried. “I am so sorry that happened to you. But Sarah, never bring a brown paper bag with you to put your gifts in. When you get gifts, you will always find a brown paper bag to bring them home in. Ok??”
So we just hugged and rocked together, absorbing another life-truth she was learning.