The Birthday Duffle
F: Cory! No, you can’t buy that, Cory. Cory, you are cray cray. We cannot buy that! Those kids just don’t need that, Cory.
F (little boy voice reaching for stern): No, Cory, no. That is just cray cray!
Daddy follows the “cray cray” to relocate the twins in Target. Other shoppers and store employees are smiling at the conversation.
The goal of the trip is to fill a duffle bag with fun, educational materials for Victoria, the babysitter, to take with her when she goes abroad later this summer. She is going on a service trip to Thailand to help rehabilitating elephants, volunteer in a school, etc. The program permits participants who wish to to bring one bag of gifts for kids at the school. For her birthday gift, her (brilliant) mom directs Daddy and Papa to have the twins fill Victoria’s red-and-white duffle for her.
The higher purpose of the trip is lost on Cory for the first half, definitely, and maybe for most of the second half, too.
C (holding up this): Daddy, I like these ponies so much. Can I please buy this?
D: Cory, remember, this trip isn’t about buying things for us. It’s about buying things for Victoria to give to the kids she visits in Thailand.
C (reluctantly parting with the My Little Ponies thing-a-ma-jig but pointing at that): Oh, Daddy, glitter markers! Can I please…
D: Cory. We are not here today to buy things for you or for me. We are here to buy things for the kids in Thailand, okay?
C: But, Daddy, I really…
D: I know you like glitter. I mean, who doesn’t? On another trip, we might be all over those glitter markers, but do markers dry up?
C (shoulders dropping): Yes.
F: We can’t buy that for er, eh, uh those kids, Cory. Because they will dry up like Daddy says.
At the register, Daddy spies some glitter pens tucked away on the side of a very full duffle bag. Daddy asks the clerk to set those aside. Cory tries to hide a smile. In the car on the way home…
F: Victoria is just going to give those kids pencils and crayons and erasers…
C: And coloring books and toys. Because they don’t have many toys.
F: Some kids don’t have as many toys as we do.
C: No, no. They just don’t have toys like we do, right, Fisher?
F (voice rising): Toys? No, they don’t have so many toys, Cory. Some of those eh, er, uh kids don’t even have (strong emphasis on the “lets”) toi-*lets*!
C: What did you say?
F: They don’t even have toi-*lets*, Cory. They just go pee-pee and poo-poo right there. On the street or something. They don’t go in a bathroom or even have a toilet. So. No, Cory. They don’t have so many toys.
C: Yah, they don’t even have toys or toilets. (Pause.) But, Victoria can’t bring them toilets, so…
Figuring that the toys-to-toilets connection counts as some progress, Daddy leaves the matter of whether all kids in Thailand, ahem, lack toilets (or whether all kids in the U.S. have them) for another day. Later that night, the twins present the overstuffed duffle at Victoria’s birthday dinner at the house. Victoria is speechless. Her mom, the mastermind, tears up. Her sisters smile. And, the twins do seem to get it. Maybe? Sort of? If so, finally.