Tuesday, April 17, 2012
JOY IS WHERE YOU FIND IT
The last thing I expected when I offered to house/childsit for my daughter yesterday was an absolutely delightful dinner with two teenagers and a young twerp. What Erin and Ron needed was someone to pick up Keara when her middle school ended for the day, and be at the house when her brother Caleb arrived home from high school. These two children, who call me “Noni,” live with their grandmother and grandfather and I am the great-grandmother. The kids are old enough to take care of themselves for short periods of time, but we agreed that someone needed to know they were home safely from school while my daughter and her husband made a good Samaritan trip down to San Diego for the day.
Lord knows Erin has helped me out often enough with cat-sitting when I needed her so I was pleased to be able to return the favor. I needed to be at their house by noon, in front of Keara’s school by 1:30, and back at the house by 3 when Caleb’s bus arrived. Kids this age don’t need entertaining, so I brought along a book to read and a few files I needed to go through. Erin figured she’d be home before dinner, so no dinner plans were made.
Traffic home was far worse than Erin had expected, so when dinnertime rolled around I knew the kids would be good and hungry. I suggested to them that we go grab a bite to eat somewhere – their choice – and they wondered whether they could bring Tyler with them. “He never gets to eat out,” they said, Since Tyler is another great grandson, lives nearby, and is a good-sized 8 year old, I figured it would hardly be right leave him so he joined the party. I asked them where they wanted to go.
A few seconds of whispers ended with an announcement of their choice: “Hometown Buffet!” That was ok with me, and off we went.
Here’s what I learned: I have three very polite and very considerate great-grandchildren. Tyler had never been to a Hometown Buffet style restaurant before (nor had I) so I asked the big kids to take Tyler in hand and help him learn what to do. It was very interesting and very gratifying to see at least two of the kids put a decent dinner on their plate before tackling the sweet stuff. There was no running around the food stations, bumping into other customers, or careless spilling of food. I guess mostly I have been aware of smaller kids in restaurants who drive me crazy crawling around under tables, having mini-tantrums and in general acting like children with no upbringing. I didn’t have to rein in either of the teenagers, and only once did I say to the twerp that I thought he’d had enough plates of dessert. With nary a tantrum he acquiesced. All I had to do was sit and watch the lovely scene play out. Oh my, I was so proud. I’d take all three of them back in a flash!
But the best part of all was that as we were finishing up, I asked for some advice on my new iPod, which I am having a heck of a time figuring out! Solicitous of their old 76 year old great-grandma’s inability to work with something as simple as an iPod, both Keara and Caleb gave me pointers for getting from point A to Point B. I had Lesson #1 in iPod use while the kids finished up with their dessert.
Lucky me! It was the best dinner I’ve had in a long time. The cost of the bill for 3 adults and 1 child at Hometown Buffet was worth every penny spent. But the joy was in the company, not the food. Nowadays I don’t have a whole lot of contact with teenagers, but I have to tell you that these kids in Erin’s family, that is, her own kids (my grandchildren) and their kids (my great-grandchildren) have always been exceptionally loving and kind children. And yesterday they made their old Noni feel like a million bucks! Lucky, lucky me.