“Where’s my little man?”
The moment Parker heard Nana’s voice he jumped up and ran from his bedroom, knocking over the block castle in his haste. He rushed into the living room, but only Daddy noticed his arrival.
“Walk Parker,” he instructed.
Both Nana and Papa sat on the couch, completely engrossed in counting the little fingers and toes of Gabe. The baby started to scream, and Parker covered his ears. Nana cradled Gabe in her arms and rocked him. The crying stopped almost as soon as it started. Parker walked to the edge of the couch and stood next to Papa.
“So, what do you think of him?” Papa asked, tousling Parker’s hair.
“We brought you something.” Nana said still looking at Gabe.
Parker noticed a large gift bag sitting at her feet. His heart started to beat a little harder.
“Parker, could you take the bag to your Mommy?” Nana asked.
The bag was more than half his height, and Parker had to hold his hands way above his head, just to keep the bottom off the ground. What could be in the bag? All kinds of ideas filled his head. Maybe it was more building blocks, or that huge dinosaur they had seen together at the store.
“Shall we open it?” Mommy asked, placing the bag at her feet. Parker was a little upset that Nana thought he needed Mommy’s help opening the package. He wasn’t a baby anymore, not like Gabe.
Parker nodded his head. Together they pulled out the extra tissue paper, and Parker excitedly put his hand in the bag and pulled out the first item – a rattle. The rest of the contents were just as disappointing: baby clothes, diapers, pacifiers, bottles and a little blanket. What was Nana thinking? Parker couldn’t use any of that stuff.
Mommy didn’t share Parker’s thoughts. She gushed about how wonderful the gifts were and how much she was going to enjoy using them. Parker just went back to his room.
The castle that he had spent the entire day building lay in a tumbled down heap in the center of his room. Parker picked up the pieces and went to work rebuilding. A knock on his doorframe startled him; his jump caused one of the towers to collapse. A stray block rolled all the way to Papa’s shoe.
“I’m sorry, Parker.” Papa apologized. “Can I help you fix it?”
Parker nodded and Papa got down on his hands and knees and started building right alongside of his grandson. The two worked along in silence, as a castle grew out of the rubble. When the final piece was placed, both sat back and admired their work.
“You would make a good architect when you grow up.” Papa reached over and enveloped Parker in a hug. “I love you, my boy!”
Parker clung to him, and cried.
Ever since Gabe came home from the hospital, everyone had been too tired, too busy, or too preoccupied to give much thought to the other little boy who lived in the house. No wonder Parker thought babies stink.
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