Every Thursday my son’s classmate comes to our house after school. It’s an arrangement between the boy’s parents and I and so far it as worked quite nicely.
Yesterday the two boys met me at the school gate as usual but out of the ordinary was their hyper-animated state.
“I have 100 shekels (U.S. $25) Sonya gave me for my birthday and I brought it to buy Gogos. Will you take us to the store?” my son’s friend asked.
Sonya is a classmate. But I didn’t know that. I figured Sonya was an aunt. Gogos are the craze du jour among Israel’s elementary school set. They’re highly appealing, mini-plastic figurines that come three to a packet. They cost about $1.75 per.
It’s my money. My mom lets me do what I want with my money. As long as I take her to a hotel for vacation, he responded, laughing.
How very liberal of her I pondered. I wouldn’t let my son do that. Maybe I should loosen up. . .
Okay then, I capitulated. Let’s go.
At the store, I browsed front page stories about Mossad agents, assassination and dual identities while the boys handled the transaction.
They purchased 14 packets and split them – my son’s friend is quite generous – and then clamored to get home and open the goods.
They alternately ran and walked the 5 city blocks to our place, urging me to hurry. My son actually screeched aloud with anticipation as I unlocked the front door. The neighbors! I chastised with an internal smile. Their enthusiasm was refreshing.
They dumped book bags in the entrance hall and spread the packets across the coffee table, busying themselves with the business of divvying treasure.
When lunch was ready, I called repeatedly to no avail. Eventually I threatened to lock up the kitchen for the day in order to cajole them into eating.
At 3, the boy’s father came to retrieve him. And Gogo Hell broke loose.
You bought WHAT? he asked incredously. With what money? After I told you there would be no more Gogo’s? Where did you get a hundred shekels? WHO gave it to you? You’re in some serious trouble, young man…
They exited and as I heard their exchange in the hallway, my cheeks flamed red with shame. It hadn’t occurréd to me to phone one of the parents and check the story’s legitimacy. I assumed if a kid says he got some money for his birthday and he’s allowed to spend it….Criminy. Silly me.
THE TRUE STORY: Sonya, presumably wishing to curry favor, gave the boy a hundred shekels she got from God-knows-where a day prior. He decided to purchase the toys without telling anyone – other than a gullible ME, that is. The part about the birthday and his mom knowing? Mmm, Mmm, mmmm. My son was also clueless to the dupe.
Okay so I learned my lesson. The opened Gogo packets can’t go back to the store but the money has to go back to Sonya. I won’t take the loot away from my son – he was an innocent. So I’ll cough up half the $$ and give it to the boy’s parents. Peace offering sort of thing, Innit?
When the winds of war calmed later in the day, I texted his mother: “You have to admit, it IS funny”
She texted back: This story is going to make the rounds for years to come.