Every Monday, Terry and I have dinner with my in-laws, and we normally take Rubin along with us. Last Monday was no exception, and, as it turned out, my brother-in-law and nephew were there when we arrived, and my sister-in-law turned up a bit later with our niece, so everyone was talking and laughing, and Terry and I lost track of time slightly.
As it turned, out, however, time wasn’t the ONLY thing we lost track of.
As we stood up to leave, we heard the sound of an ice-cream van pulling into the street. Terry is pretty much addicted to ice-cream, so we quickly gathered our things, said our goodbyes, and I got into the car while he ran across the street to buy himself some ice cream.
Unfortunately, most of the kids in the street had the same idea, so there was a line. Terry joined it, and I pulled out my phone so I could pass the time checking my email and Twitter, and basically messing around on the Internet. I’d been doing this for a few minutes, when I glanced up and saw my mother-in-law come out of the house, her arms waving as she tried to get my attention. She seemed to be trying to tell me that I’d left something in the house. Hmmm.
Now, me leaving something would not be AT ALL out of the ordinary. I leave things. It’s what I do. As soon as I get home after a visit to my own parents, the first thing I do is to check my email to find out what I’ve left behind THIS time. When we get home from Terry’s mum’s, meanwhile, we’ll regularly get a phone call a few minutes later, to say that Amber has left her coat/bag/phone/wallet/giant messy bun head/brain there. I’ve been doing this kind of thing my whole life long. When I was in school, for instance, the bell would ring, signalling the end of classes for the day, and I would often just stand up and walk out, leaving my bag, coat and EVERYTHING ELSE I OWNED behind me.
This time, though, I was sure I was good. I was wearing my jacket, my handbag was on my knee, my phone was in my hand. I wracked my brain, trying to think what I could possibly have left behind. I mean, the only other thing we’d had with us when we arrived was…
“THE DOG!” shouted my mother-in-law. “You’ve forgotten the dog!”
And we had.
We had got up, put on our coats, and just walked out, leaving Rubin behind. Oh. My. God.
Just to set your minds at rest, Rubin was totally unperturbed by this. I mean, he’s stayed with my in-laws lots of times when Terry and I have been on holiday, and he sees them every week, so he feels totally at home there. He also tends to eat much better there than he ever does at our house, which is probably why, rather than following us to the door, he simply remained where he was, hoping that, sooner or later, one of the people present would drop a morsel of food on the floor and he would be able to swoop in and get it. So he was fine.
Even so, though, people, even so: WE FORGOT WE HAD OUR DOG WITH US.
And this, my friends, is why Terry and I have never tried our hands at parenting.