Greg has worked late and on the weekends lately which has given me some good quality time with the girls. And the dogs, which I’ll address in a later post. Last night he had to install some new monitors for a group at work and I was left to shuttle kids to soccer and get everyone to dinner. After soccer practice and depositing Emily off with her dad, the rest of the girls and I were starving. So I did what any mom would do….I turned into McDonald’s for some fast food.
I was heading for the drive-thru when the girls protested. They wanted to go inside and for some crazy reason I let them talk me into that. We piled in, ordered our food, and found a kind of bar area to sit at. While we were waiting on our meal I looked around to appraise the crowd. I always look around just to decide if I’d be comfortable letting them hit the restroom by themselves. It was a new McDonald’s so I wasn’t familiar with the clientele. What I realized as I scanned the restaurant was that I was surrounded by senior citizens, several couples and groups of them. They must’ve been coming from an event because several of the gentlemen had on brown vests with patches that said “UNION STATION VOLUNTEER”.
Just about that time I saw that our food was ready so I picked it up at the counter, sat down at the bar and began to distribute it. The girls let out a collective squeal when they pulled out their Strawberry Shortcake Happy Meal toy which was followed by oooohhhhs and ahhhhhhhs when they realized that they actually smelled like fruit – orange and strawberry. And that was followed by our normal restaurant experience – the negotiation and trading of the Happy Meal toys, the kid who wants ketchup and spills it down their shirt, the kid who wants a drink re-fill times 7, the kid who needs to go to the bathroom 5 minutes in, the kid who spills something and uses up all the napkins so we have to grab some more, etc.
A few minutes into this routine, I realized that we were being watched by the senior citizens and that a nice older gentleman was standing at the end of the long bar just watching. I looked up at him and smiled a warm smile thinking that maybe he just wanted to be acknowledged. He asked if these were all mine and I said yes. He said you’ve got your hands full and I said yes. And then he said, “Little girls are such a joy. We had three and now they are all grown and living all over the country. Your girls are precious.” And then he turned and went to have his coffee re-filled.
But through the rest of our time there I noticed that they were watching our every move, every word. And they were smiling. They found it funny when Cameron accidentally went into the men’s restroom. And when Madison threw a mini-fit because while she enjoys strawberry she really wanted a strawberry shortcake character that smells like blueberry. And when Quincy drank Cameron’s sprite when she wasn’t looking and Cameron told her she was the worst sister EVER.
They cleared the restaurant before we were finished and as they passed our table each one of them said goodbye or waved at the girls. The girls obliged and hammed it up, feeling a little like rock stars of course. And I couldn’t help but think that this made their evening.
Amazing, isn’t it? The connection between the very young and the very old.