This past weekend I sat alone in a crowded restaurant. It was a table with just me and I had no intention of meeting anyone. I got myself an iced tea and a large order of sweet potato fries and ate them by myself before I sat there and whiled away the next hour.
And I was feeling so satisfied, happy, and lucky!
How did I manage to have such an experience? My personal paradise moment for today is the memory of this event and why it had such meaning. As it happens, Miss S wanted to give Mr T a unique gift for his last birthday. She has a great heart for giving and she wanted something that she knew he would enjoy but she also finds great meaning in gifts of experiences. So she proposed that she take her little brother out to lunch to one of their favorite restaurants. Of course the problem with her plan is that she is only 11 and I was wondering how she was going to accomplish this very grown up date. Well, my girl is very resourceful and she already had all that worked out! We were to sit down with our calendars and find a day and time that she, Mr T, and I would be available to go out. Miss S very politely requested me to drive them to their date, where she would pay for both of their meals as well as have extra money to spend on a few tokens for arcade games. I was to sit somewhere else in the restaurant where I wouldn’t be too close so she could be completely grown up and enjoy his company by herself for a while.
It was awfully cute watching them go up to the counter to pick out their condiments – looking so independent – yet sneaking smothered smiles my way. When they were just about done, Miss S came over to my table to inform me that they were almost ready to go. I nodded and told her to let me know when we were going to leave.
What a wonderful experience it was to watch my girl act so grown up while my little boy basked in the joy of his sister’s undivided attention! They had been talking about this event for so long and I’m sure they will continue talking about it was for a long time to come. The best thing I learned while sitting by myself at that restaurant table, was how good it can be to allow my children’s sense of independence grow and stretch. It was such a pleasure to see their care for each other, especially in my absence, showing in the kindness and enjoyment that they shared.
In what ways do you see the qualities of independence and kindness with your children? How can you encourage these desirable traits in your little, and not so little, ones? This week, let’s look for these opportunities to help our children stretch in these ways. I’d love to hear some of your results!
Peace and health,