Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Playgroup II: 'N' is for Nutty

The drama continues at Benny’s playgroup as we face the loss of a cherished member. The other mothers are fighting complex feelings: Elation at Padme’s husband Darth’s great career move to Minnesota, but also a deep sadness at losing little Luke from our group.

At least that’s what I gather from recent emails. I can’t say I’m equally devastated, mostly because I can’t quite remember who Padme and Luke are. Is Padme the frazzled mother who arrives early to every playdate, awestruck by the host mother’s accomplishments? (“My God, you have a toy box! I wish I’d thought of that! We just shove our kid’s stuff under the sofa!”)

Perhaps Luke is the little boy who bites toys. Let’s be grateful he doesn’t bite other children, but it’s still weird to see a small toddler gnawing on a doll’s leg like it’s corn on the cob.

Well, no matter, because every member is precious, even Anny, who loves to send emails but never shows up anywhere. So one mother proposed the following:


Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 10:24:30
To: Soon-to-be-Bereaved Playgroup
Subject: Padme and Luke

We could each do a page in a small photo album like a mini scrapbook. I have scrapbooking supplies so I can bring them to an upcoming playdate...or maybe we can even organize an evening to meet and put together the album. I was also thinking about the book, "M is for Mitten". It's about Michigan and we could all write a message from the kids to Lukey.



This idea was pounced on with great enthusiasm exactly 11 minutes later.


Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 10:35:30
To: Grief-Stricken Playgroup
Subject: Re: Padme and Luke

Oh yes, but I am worried about how quickly that is coming up, so am wondering if maybe people want to start getting their pictures together and mail them to Leia to put in a album if we can't find a time to all meet?

We could also each write a little note that is the size of a picture on a nice piece of paper and that way it could either go into a mini-scrapbook if we can pull it off or be put right into the photo sleeve of an album.



And you know, of course, what the notes will be like. They’ll resemble the group birthday cards you get at the office, the big ones with all the little messages scribbled inside. Most workers don’t even need to sign their names anymore, because they always write the same thing to every recipient: “Way to go!” or “One more year ’til death!”

I bet I could write up a fake card for Padme and Luke and nobody would know the difference:
“Good Luck!”
“We’ll all miss you!”
“Sorry about the grape juice Sammy poured on your cat!”

But anyway …


Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2005 22:02:36
To: Grief-Stricken Playgroup
Subject: Scrapbook night for Padme

Ok...I have the scrapbook for Padme. The size of the pages is 8.5 x 8.5. So, if you'd like to put your own page(s) together just make sure it's not too big. Also, if you can't make it to my house next Tuesday you can give your pictures to someone at Playgroup or send them to me at 823 Duck Waddle Way.


Now it’s all over, thank goodness. The scrapbook was created and duly presented, prompting a lovely thank you email from Padme.

I feel a little guilty for ignoring the whole thing, but I doubt Padme cared. If my name ever came out, she probably thought, “Christine … hmmm … is she the woman with the hooded sweatshirts and the napkin fetish or the gal with the pink sunglasses and the nervous twitch? … and is Benny the one who's prone to creepy rashes or allergic to oxygen? …”


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