“…Hello, I must be going.
        I cannot stay,
       I came to say
       I must be going
       I’m glad I came
       But just the same
       I must be going…”

The cabin door shut and true to form, within moments I slept. My eyes would open only with the captain’s announcement that Chitown was near. I would spend two days mentally filming my family, and the star, Go Figure, would be a nineteen-month old.

“I’ll be there in 15 minutes,” Stacy announced, moments after I’d texted her of landing. “Is the baby with you?” “Yes”. “OK, I’m at Terminal One—call back when close.”

“I’ll be there in a half hour,” Stacy whimpered, moments after her aging father’d schlepped bags to the curb”. “I’m going inside; it’s an oven out here.”

She finally pulled up, that wondrous one, and I hopped in the back. Hand-holding with Lucy, reuniting with Adam, I kvelled for my daughter, but stared at the baby. All eyes on The Prize.

(Better I should have watched the road).

“Jason, I don’t know where I am,” Stace proclaimed as we entered the freeway. On paper their home is ten from O’Hare, and yet: “Where are you?” he asked. (“Where’s the GPS?” I wondered). “Are you mad?” then asked Stacy. “Of course not,” said I… “But would you turn up the air-conditioning!”

In weekends of family, there is nuance to normalcy. Interactions, even standard ones, breed fun and moments, the precious ones, make memories.

Luce, of course, was the headliner. Three months older, her words sometimes flowed. Not “Pappy” yet, but “Mommy” and “Adam” and “Berries”.

There was quick lunch on Thursday, what with the Bohrer Family picnic and all.  And this, I should note, was not my first rodeo.  Held in a nearby park, it is filled annually with happy people catching up, sharing memories and swatting bugs. Actually, it’s much like Bonesey’s bachelor party, except there’s no boat.

Lucy held court.  Bounding around, stumbling—not falling—she grabbed everyone’s eye and most of the attention. Better yet, though, she knew exactly when to get off stage, making what for a scratching me was the perfect exit.

“We’re leaving now”, said Stacy by 2. “She needs a nap!” Within minutes there was AC again!

We hung out at night—the four of us. Tired we were, (and I, myself was in a sliding funk until I heard from Carrie), but playing with Lucy against the backdrop of a Jason-picked Gilbert Gottfried video, we soon hit bed in contented state.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

“What’s the best part so far?” Stace asked after breakfast.

Wading through a pool with Lucy, I thought this was it. Like the magic of Max watering in Great Neck, this too waxed special, timeless. There she was, the fledgling tyke, splashing water for near the first time. All new, said her eyes; all good, said her smile.

“Look at her. You’re here for this!” urged Jason. Yes!  The look on the face of one Lucy Hannah Bohrer said there were not only no yesterdays but life was full of tomorrows!

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

“Call us if there’s a problem”, said my Little One hours later.“And do you know how to diaper her?”
“Yes, Stacy. I’ve done it before. Second base to home plate, first base to third.”

‘Twas six when they left: for their dinner and movie.  Eight when Stace called, yet again.

“Is she asleep?”
“Not yet,” I responded.  Proudly, mind you, knowing full well that license was given to put Luce down at 7:30.
“What’s she doing?” asked my kid, more in wonder than concern.
“Well,” I told her: “ ‘Seinfeld’ ended and she’s sitting here  and we’re watching the last half of ‘Moneyball’. Can I get off the phone?”
“Take a picture,” laughed Stacy, hanging up.

She was late—my daughter was—two hours too late.  The picture’d been taken…already…in my heart.

       “…I’ll stay a day or two,
       I’ll babysit for Lu,
       But I am telling you,
       I must be going….”.

Groucho Marx (Adapted)

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