My mom is visiting us for the weekend from the Dallas area (arrived yesterday, leaving Monday sometime), and things are generally a little frenetic with three small children, especially with a precocious 18-month old toddler. Usually, we spend some time shopping so that she will have a chance to properly spoil the kids, and Sundays are busy with church and NFL games to watch. Honestly, it is sometimes hard for my mom and I to find time to actually talk alone for a few minutes without anyone else around.
Last night, I received a phone call from a friend of mine from church asking if I could help him out by picking up one of the kids from the housing project where I have spent a good deal of time and taking him to a camp nearby (read my August post: Giving of your time, talents, and treasures for more information on this). I agreed to do it, as I wanted the boy to have a chance to escape from that environment for awhile and enjoy himself for a couple of days, and just be a kid. I have known him for about a year now, and he is a very social 10-year old. I sense that he is often called upon to be the caretaker for his younger siblings, even though he is little himself.
My mom offered to accompany me this morning, so we rode over together and talked about the kids, etc. I told her that I thought my kids were really funny and well-adjusted, and it was silent for about ten seconds from her side of the car. I said, "You can feel free to agree with me anytime, you know." She laughed, because she was just thinking of some examples, and it came across like steely disagreement, although I knew better.
We talked about the cell phone commercials where people are greeted with silence, then they say something embarrassing to cover the quietude. For the record, my mother agreed that my kids are cool!
So, we arrived promptly at the appointed time. We knocked on the door….and waited….and knocked….and heard adult and children talking….and knocked some more….and heard more talking…and knocked yet again…then we started loudly saying, "Hello?" and "Good morning!". The last part was my mom's idea, as she is a long-time social worker who used to be in charge of all of Dallas County for Child Protective Services. After several minutes of this, the boy finally came to the door and told us that he wasn't going, since none of his friends would be going, and that he felt a little sick. He enthusiasticaly stated that he would be going to the next event, though. I think he was actually sick that he couldn't go based on the tone of his voice – maybe his parents wanted him to help around the house – who knows?
My first reaction was mild anger and I felt put out by it, then I realized that I would have some time to spend alone with my mom, which as I mentioned is a rarety these days. We went to McDonald's and got some of their new premium coffee and some biscuits (the coffee is very good, by the way, and far cheaper than Starbucks, I realized). We just talked and laughed, and then we returned home.
I have spent time today dancing and jamming with my kids and my mom to "Night Fever" by the Bee Gees, "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire, and "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, among others. My kids all seem to like disco and classic tunes (keep in mind that my wife and I actually met on the dance floor of an Austin club). Overall, this is shaping up to be a great day.
Thanks for reading!