This time Jamie insisted on getting a parrot. His overworked mother sighed and gave in. When Henry got a month off work and returned home, an excited Jamie showed him Kiki the parrot.
Darlene shrugged when he glanced at her questioningly.
“Don’t look at me, I’m too tired to launch into the same explanation every time he feels like trying out something new. And besides, you’re not home very often,” she said, immediately feeling guilty. That wasn’t very fair, as Henry was a chef on a ship, away for months at sea, working hard for the entire family.
The next time Henry returned, a tearful Jamie told him that Kiki had died.
Henry put Jamie on his lap and said, “Remember son, when you take on something, never do anything halfway, be responsible.”
Jamie nodded soberly, then apologized to his mother for answering back when she’d scolded him for not looking after Kiki properly.
Darlene glanced at Henry, who was smiling proudly at his son.
“You’re a better parent away than I am here,” she said, looking ashamed.
Henry pulled her close.
“We’re in this together,” he said, gently lifting her chin.
Both devoted parents smiled understandingly at each other.