March 5, 2009

When the Kids Get a Crash Course in Blessings

We had a wonderful day at the zoo today. The weather was perfect, the zoo was uncrowded. The kids were excited! We even got to see a three-toed sloth--AWAKE. They were especially excited about that because as many times as we've been we have never seen it move. We always talk about how it sleeps 23 hours a day and try to guess when the two hours might land. (It was approximately 3:00 in the afternoon, by the way.) Look--eyeballs!:He hung out like that a few minutes and then had to adjust back into a cradle-like position to go back to sleep. That takes a lot of energy apparently. One of the waterfalls was half ice and by the time I got this picture I forgot about getting it in the picture more than this. There are many outtakes with 4 kiddos.

Catching snails and playing with the fishies.

The day was so good I decided to take the kids to their favorite restaurant for dinner--IHOP. Oh yes, it is their favorite. Where else can you have chocolate chip pancakes with a whip cream/chocolate chip/cherry face? For dinner, no less. The kids colored their menus and selected their meals. Harley led the prayer. The waiter came out to inform us that Xander's meal would have to be changed as they were out of mac n cheese. Xander quickly selected the chocolate chip pancakes and waited patiently while his dinner was prepared. Meanwhile the rest of us were busy salt & peppering, passing syrup, etc. Xander's meal came and we all chowed down. An elderly couple with their backs to us were chatting with the manager about their grandkids and the restaurant was fairly empty and quiet. It was really nice.

The couple left and the manager approached us to let us know that the couple had thought the kids were so well-behaved that they paid for out entire ticket! I was shocked and touched, but not nearly as shocked as the kids were. The manager continued to talk about how they earned the kindness because they were so well-behaved and how you don't see that very often anymore. She told us to enjoy our meal and walked away.

The kids were much more quiet than I would have expected after such a compliment. Harley and Jagger began to speak first about what a kindness that was and how they would never expect something like that from a stranger. We hadn't even seen their faces.

This was my window of opportunity.

I explained to them how blessings come and go and should be remembered. I suggested that perhaps they should remember simply so that when they grew older they could pay the favor forward when they saw a young family in a restaurant. They would never know if they blessed a family who was living paycheck to paycheck.

I also got the opportunity to tell them about the summer Jagger was born. It was May of 2000 and the Texas weather was already scorching. Inside our home was around 90 degrees because our air conditioner had died a few weeks prior. Harley was 2.5 at the time. I called a service man for an estimate because we honestly did not know what we were looking at in terms of cost. The man arrived at the door and was about the age of my grandfather. He had a tiny dog that followed him around the yard while he checked our unit. When it came time for him to give us a quote I asked him if he did any kind of a payment plan. That man must have had a daughter or a daughter-in-law somewhere because he sized me up pretty quickly. He looked for a moment at my very pregnant belly and said 'don't worry, let's get this fixed...I have been there.' And he serviced our a/c the entire summer for free.

The couple tonight blessed us--for no reason--I told the kids. Remember that. Be those people.

And then I ungrounded them for the absolutely horrendous way they acted in Kohl's an hour earlier. I figured if a couple could pay them such a compliment and bless our family in such a way I could ease up a bit.


My name is Kristie said...


I love those real teachable moments. Now they may want to reach out and bless someone else for no reason at all and without the others ever seeing them.

Also way to teach them grace by ungrounding them even though they didn't deserve it ;-)


naturalmom said...

Oh Andie, this is one of the most touching and beautiful posts I've ever read. I just love how you handled this with your children and especially the "surprise" ending. Very cool of you.


Grit said...

that is a lovely and touching story and makes me feel fortunate to know of human kindnesses.

Nikowa Lee {Quirky Mom} said...

LOVE your story!!!

Lisa said...

What a sweet story of kindness and grace. My kids love IHOP too. :)

Happy Birthday!

Mozi Esmé said...

Glad you had fun at the zoo. And what an unbelievable learning moment at IHOP!

Melissa said...

What a great story and perfect way to embrace that learning opportunity.

Courtney said...

Wow -- both such a blessing, but your prego/AC story really touched me. What a kind man!