Sometimes you're just so happy that you aren't at a certain stage in your life any longer. I was reminded of that tonight as Mom, Mom's friend R (who is 93 or more) and I ate supper at a local restaurant. The place was relatively deserted for a Saturday night since this is state basketball finals season. (The local school district has two high schools in its ~1,500 sq. mi. area. One is in one of the smaller athletic classifications and the other is a couple of rungs from the top classification. Both schools' teams are in their respective championship brackets.)
As we were visiting and waiting for our food to arrive, an extended family that had been at one of the playoff games came in and were seated a ways from us. The group consisted of grandpa and grandma, mom and dad, and three young boys all of whom appeared to be under the age of five. It had obviously been a long day and, from the fan paraphernalia they were wearing, they were from the school that is about 20 miles from here. That meant they probably had another 45 minutes of travel to get home. Thus they had stopped to eat since it was already past 7pm; the boys had obviously had a long day of cheering and excitement, etc. They were laying their heads on the table and trying to curl up into mom and dad and grandma's laps from the time they sat down.
When their food arrived, the boys perked up and dug in, but they were done eating in five minutes. After a few minutes for the food to sink in, it was clear they all desperately wanted to be home and in bed. That's when I spotted that haunted look of fear on mom and dad's faces. They knew that total melt-down was only a stray glance away. Mom and dad started eating fast, trying to get their food down before Armageddon broke out before their very eyes. I remember that feeling from when the Son was a little guy. And I was so happy that phase had come and gone. It was evident that Mom was having similar thoughts as well. We looked at each other and just grinned as we realized what that mom and dad were feeling.
You know that feeling. The one that comes over you when you know that despite your best efforts and well laid plans, your are going to have a screaming and utterly disconsolate piece of humanity on your hands with no possible solution in a few moments. Yes that one, the one where you have fantasies of the earth swallowing you whole just so you don't have to go through it again.
At the same time, grandpa and grandma are oblivious to the impending disaster. They are beaming with pride at the three little angels as they s-l-o-w-l-y eat their meals and try to engage mom and dad in conversation. Mom and dad are frantically exchanging looks with each other and then the tops of the boys heads. Dad has even taken to rolling his pancakes up like a burrito in order to get them down faster. Mom has her purse on her shoulder ready to bolt out the door at the first sign of friendly fire in the upcoming battle.
Then it happens. One of the boys slides to the floor from his chair, causing one of his brothers to knock over a water glass, and the wailing is on. Dad grabs one boy, mom the other, but nothing they can do quiets the banshee wails coming from the two. The third brother has decided to burnish his angel status a little and is calmly telling grandma that see, he is a good boy and should get to go home with grandma and grandpa, unlike his brothers. Which of course is designed to set the brothers off even more.
They all get up to leave, the two banshees still wailing. The restaurant owner comes up to the cash register with a big bucket of Tootsie Pops for the boys to pick one. Angel boy does so and says thanks, but the other two just wail louder at seeing the brother with a Tootsie Pop. When last seen, the whole group was wailing its way out the door.
I commented to Mom and R how that was not one of the things I suffered nostalgia about. There are many things from when the Son was young that I remember with great fondness and miss dearly. But the tiredness melt down is not one of them. So when I saw that mom and dad tonight, my heart went out to them. I knew what was going to happen, they knew what was going to happen. They were concerned about disturbing me. And me? I was trying really hard not to laugh since it was someone else's problem now.
So do you have anything in your life that you are happy you aren't at that stage anymore?