Every year as a combination birthday/Christmas present, my son and his family fly me out to visit them in Oceanside, California. Usually, because my daycare job doesn't allow me to stay longer than a weekend, I am there for only 3 days at the most. This year, however, I was lucky enough to spend 5 days with them!
I've missed a lot of my son's life over the years. As a U.S. Marine who was born in Illinois (where I live) and who is now living in California, Greg was stationed in North Carolina and has been to Japan (for a year), to Thailand (for several months), to Iraq (four times), and to Kuwait (twice) – so whenever I am given the opportunity to spend time with him and his family, it never matters what we do, where we go, what we eat – what matters is that I am spending time with him and with them.
One night we were discussing what to eat for dinner and everybody (I thought) decided on Chinese. Fine by me. As I said, it doesn't matter to me where we eat or what we eat.
So when we pulled in front of a sushi restaurant, I thought, hmm, well, I must have missed this part of the conversation. I've never had sushi, but if this is what the family has decided, I'll try it. Greg was the only one to get out of the car, so I assumed we were picking up the sushi (and not the Chinese) and taking it home.
Then Greg asked me if I wanted to go with him. Well, yeah – anything to spend time together, even if it's just picking up sushi from the local sushi stop. But as I was getting out of the car Michelle warned, "You'd better bring your purse. You'll need your ID."
Oh, OK. They NEVER ask me to pay for anything and, as a matter of fact, REFUSE to allow me to pay for anything, so I was more than willing to foot the bill for dinner. But why would I need an ID to purchase it?
Well, come to think of it, this IS California, and I've heard that sometimes people die from eating sushi, so maybe the state of California is keeping track of who is eating it.
Yes, I really do think that way.
But we walked past the sushi restaurant and into a store that sells iPhones. What? We're not eating sushi?
No, we're getting you an iPhone. Their reason for giving me an extra present was that they were "paying me" to watch the kids. I don't think I'm senile (though I'm sure somebody in my family would argue with me about that). I honestly don't remember ever doing anything that would require them to pay me for doing it.
So this is my reasoning: I take the kids to the park and I get an iPhone. What would they give me if I took the kids to the zoo? A laptop? Or how about a trip to Disneyland? My own plane?
Still this is the greatest toy ever (besides my computer)! And I am so grateful to them for receiving it.
So – Greg, Michelle, Taylor, Kaden, and Zac, thank you thank you thank you – for the trip, for always making me feel welcome, and for giving me another way to keep in touch with you.
Photo of sushi is from Wikimedia Commons. Photo of iPhone is from Apple.