Vinnie’s dad carefully organizes three suitcases in the back of the family SUV. He steps back, smiles at his organization. He looks at his home and neighborhood and thinks how peaceful everything is at five in the morning. A thought passes through his mind to forget about Vinnie while he and Vinnie’s mom go on vacation. As soon as the thought enters his mind, his guilt alarm starts shrieking. He didn’t try to think the thought. It happened. He wonders if it is a sin to want to leave your son behind while you relax. He shakes his head to force the thought out. He turns and starts walking back toward the house.
Vinnie’s mom comes out the front door carrying two large eco friendly grocery bags filled with snacks. She stops when she reaches Vinnie’s dad and says, “Dear, mind placing these where I can reach them. We’ll leave as soon as the kennel’s open.”
“That’s going to be a problem. Did you tell Vinnie we’re leaving Dexter at the kennel?”
“I thought you told him,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“I didn’t. I thought you were going to tell him.”
“No, it was your job to tell him,” insists Vinnie’s mom.
“I remember you saying you were going to tell him,” counters Vinnie’s dad.
“Tell me what?” asks Vinnie from behind Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s mom turns around and says, “Oh, nothing, Vinnie. Go check your room. Make sure you have everything. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”
“Okay, Mom. Rupert and Dexter will help me.”
Vinnie’s mom and dad watch Vinnie run toward his room. Vinnie’s dad says, “I’ll tell him, but let’s wait and let him be surprised. No sense in starting the rebellion too soon.”
Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad’s arm and says, “Do you think they keep eight year old boys at the kennel?” She pauses for a second, “I’m terrible to say such a thing.”
Vinnie’s dad says, “Not a bad idea. But I don’t think they do.” The both laugh.
At moment later, Vinnie arrives in the doorway holding Rupert in one hand and a box of doggie treats in his other hand. Dexter is at his side staring at the doggie treats wagging his tale thinking the family is going to take a walk in the park and he might see the cute toy poodle, his dog crush.
Vinnie’s dad says, “Hurry on to the car, Vinnie. Get in and get buckled so we’ll be set to leave as soon as Mom gets her purse and does a last minute check.”
Vinnie’s mom takes hold of Vinnie’s dad’s hand, “Dear, this isn’t going to go well. You take it.”
Vinnie’s dad turns his head slightly toward Vinnie’s mom and whispers, “On second thought, I think you should handle it, you know how mothers are more nurturing and understanding than fathers.”
Vinnie’s mom whispers back, “Don’t label me with stereotypes.”
Vinnie’s dad whispers back, “You watched The View this week. I know it.”
“Only while I was running on the treadmill to keep my body beautiful for you. You know how I hate the news.”
Vinnie hollers from the SUV, “I got the best parents in the world.”
Vinnie’s mom and dad beam. Vinnie’s dad says, “Thank you, Vinnie. We try.”
Vinnie’s mom, a standard deviation more intuitive than Vinnie’s dad says, “What makes you say that, Vinnie?”
Vinnie doesn’t miss a beat. He says, “It’s going to be the best vacation ever. I get to take Rupert, my tablet, none of the books Mrs. Navis told us to read. And, most of all, I get to take Dexter. He can sleep with me on my bed, right Mom?”
Vinnie’s mom squeezes Vinnie’s dad’s hand and says, “Vinnie’s so sweet, Dear. What do you have to say?”