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.