Dining Alone at a Table for Two

Mr. Bacon went back to work today…. and Anna is away enjoying some fun in the sun with her friend this week – so that leaves me and my little guy together for a day of fun.   I know I could never compete with Pop Pop and his arctic blast visits to Sesame Place….. but I tried to search yesterday afternoon for something fun to do today with Eric.   

I gave him 8 choices; some new and some familiar …and he picked a local indoor play park that he’s been to a zillion times.   The first pang of sadness I felt was watching Eric walk into the place by himself (well ….with me….) when I was surrounded in line by throngs of kids and their family or friends.  Some days I fantasize about adopting or fostering children just so we can have more kids in the house for him to play with.  Anna isn’t home much as it is — and well, college is just around the corner – so it is bound to be even more quiet and lonely as the years pass by…

Then I felt more sadness when— after going on only 5 rides (actually really only the same 2 rides a few times in a row)— he declared he was ready to go home.  I had bought the “all day” pass and feel like I threw my money out the window….you can never tell with Eric — either he is going to want to stay for hours – or he is going to be brief and go home….  I should have known today was going to be a ‘brief’ day.  I thought maybe he’d want to go home and ride his hoverboard for a little while and then we could go back so I told him to leave his bracelet on — but he started to throw a fit and clearly didn’t want to go back…. I wished I could have somehow given that bracelet to another child coming in with their family.   Oh well……

Then I swung by a new trampoline park that was very close to where we were and tried to convince him to go in and check it out – and jump for a little while — but he wanted no part of that either….  I had a nice little cry in the car and then decided at least we should get lunch together while we were out….

He happily agreed to head to a restaurant for some pancakes and bacon.  In my quest to get him to try something new, I went to a different place; only to be disappointed that the wait was about 50 people deep; so I resorted to turning around and heading to our “usual” place.   

We sat in a cozy little booth for two….and a few minutes later an elderly man came and sat by himself in the booth right behind us. He caught my eye since at first I felt a little sad for him because he was eating by himself….  but then it dawned on me that he was actually less alone than I felt.   He chatted with every single diner employee and each person made it a point to stop and talk to him – he was obviously a frequent guest.   Me, on the other hand, got suddenly smacked over the head with the fact that I was out to lunch with my 13 year old and I so desperately wanted to be able to have a conversation with him.  But I was basically people watching everyone else, while Eric was scanning through pictures on my phone.

I started grilling him with questions that he dutifully answered.   I looked at the pictures with him and had him tell me things about the photo; and kept talking to him just so I didn’t feel so alone.  I knew he was just tolerating me at that point.  Questions exhaust him — so I didn’t want to keep talking and risk a screaming outburst.   Instead, I hurriedly finished my barely cool-enough-to-drink tea and paid the bill—since he was anxious to get home to his beloved hoverboard. 

I’ll keep trying and I won’t give up hoping.  But sometimes it really smacks ya in the face.

—— Mrs. B.

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