Paying it Forward

My brother and his family came to visit over the Christmas holiday. We were all sitting around breakfast one morning when the subject of bears came up. "Wouldn't it be cool if you could see a bear in real life?" Little Miss C asked, eyes wide. 

"Mark and I have seen bears in person," I replied, referring to our family trip to Yellowstone when I was a teenager. 

She laughed uproariously, "Did they eat you?" 

"Actually, we used to have a younger brother," Mark and I replied in perfect unison. {Which only goes to show that we are, in fact, my father's offspring.}

 "Yeah, his little legs were too short and he couldn't run fast enough." I deadpanned. I could see the indecision playing all over Little Miss C's face. I almost never joke with her, but Mark almost always does. She couldn't decide whether to believe us or not. 

"Actually," Mark said, "you have to pay a toll to see the bears. A human toll." He paused for dramatic effect. "Larry -- that was his name-- was the one we picked to feed to the bears."

That was a bit much. Her suspicion gained dominance and she started to smile, "No you didn't!"

Jared jumped in at this point. "When we go to see the bears, I think we should feed L to them." 

Instantly, her face changed. She became alarmed. "NO! He's just a baby!"

Jared plowed on, oblivious to my eyes which were silently imploring him not to go one step beyond, "Oh, L's had a good life. And it would be worth it. The bears are so cool." 

"But I love him!" Little Miss C insisted tremulously, then burst into tears.

I gathered her into my arms and consoled her with the truth. I never had a younger brother named Larry. We weren't going to feed L to the bears. The park rangers would never let anyone get devoured. As I stroked her hair and let her sob into my shoulder, I looked over her head at Mark and we both recited, "It's all fun and games until someone starts crying." 

Just like mom used to.

Hopefully, she'll look back on this and find it bizarrely heartwarming, the way I look back on my own childhood-torture. And then she'll do her part to scar the next generation. :)


Janae said...

Ha ha! ha ha! Images of your dad make me smile. Pass it on. :)

SPYGLASS said...

oh what at great story! i love that picture too! but...you are wearing a scarf and a coat in arizona... did lucifer turn the heat off?

tharker said...

This entire episode could be taken right out of a day at our home. My husband comes from a long line of torturers and teasers. My poor children...

Cute picture, but I too have to wonder. Was this taken in AZ?

marcee said...

I just love Little Miss C's dramatics!

Jen said...

Not the baby! I love her running to the rescue of the baby and her quick declaration of love. How sweet! I was laughing and crying at the same time!

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