Mia had been asking for a couple of weeks for me to have lunch with her at school. She had a couple of stipulations, though. She wanted to be surprised (although she asked every morning if today was the day) and she wanted it to be lunch with only her…Leo and Bell couldn’t join us. Of all of our kids, she requires the most attention so her demands didn’t surprise me at all.
There are two benches outside of the lunchroom where parents can sit and wait for their kid’s class to arrive. I had to time my arrival just so- in between Leo’s class already being seated so that he didn’t see me and Mia’s class coming down the hall so that she’d be surprised. As Mia’s class rounded the corner, she started waving wildly. Once she reached me, though, she looked disappointed. I stood up to give her a hug and as we walked into the lunchroom together, I said “What’s the matter? You seem sad.”
Mia: “I’m not sad. I was just hoping that I’d sit down with my class and when I opened my napkin you would have written “Surprise! Turn around! Or “Look behind you!” on it and you’d be standing there with a bunch of balloons and a stuffed animal.”
Me: “Wow. Sorry to disappoint you, honey. You seem to think I’ve been stationed in Afghanistan for months. Were you also hoping I’d have a news crew with me to capture the moment on film?”
Mia: “That would have been nice.”
Me: “So….do you still want me to have lunch with you? Or should go run the thousand errands I have but put off so I could come hang out with you?”
Mia: “Yeah, it’s fine…you can stay. I’m going to go get Leo and tell him he can eat with us since my day is already ruined.”
So, lesson learned. Before my next lunch date on with Mia, on any given ordinary day, I need to hire a marching band, be holding balloons and a life-sized teddy bear, a couple dozen roses, and have CNN at the ready. I suppose for her birthday lunch she’ll expect to have a clown walking on stilts and pony rides for her and her friends. I feel sorry for the husband who buys her a well worded card and practical gift when she’s married. I’m confident that if he hasn’t assembled a small crowd of neighbors to witness her reaction to the garage door opening slowly to reveal a red bow-covered Mercedes and a local news crew to record and air footage of that reaction, there’s going to be hell to pay.