November in Texas. Great for Thanksgiving break, cooler weather, and flu/cold breeding season. My guys, Noah and Judah, showcased their colds last week. While Judah mostly just coughed, Noah ran a fever, as well. A trip to the doctor confirmed bronchitis and strep for my fever-ridden son, who welcomed the job of a couch potato and his mother doting on him with a blanket, pillow, and an influx of beverages. Even I didn’t feel great last week. Fortunately for Neil, his out-of-town business excursion saved him from our germ infested household.
This week, however, all has been disinfected with vinegar and baking soda mixed with a little clove and orange oil as colds are dissipating with antibiotics and a touch cough medicine in the evenings. Only small lingering coughs hang on at the tail end…
…which brings me to my story.
I just had to get out of the house. Not that I’d been cooped up completely over the weekend, but my brain ached for adult conversation. A phone call later, I ran down my mental checklist of things to remember before leaving the house:
- wallet –check
- keys –check
- boys’ shoes on their feet –check (can’t tell you how many times we’ve left the house without shoes)
- tablets/iPads –check
First coffee at Starbucks, then lunch with my friend, Sheri, at Ay Chiwawa Restaurant. Boys did really well. Guess they needed to get out, too. Once at the restaurant, Noah’s flair for the dramatic could no longer be contained. A little clearing of the throat here and there is acceptable, but then the 105-year-old geriatric rasping and hacking sat next to me in the booth.
“Cover your mouth, Noah.” Actually, he was covering his mouth –with two fingers. “Use your whole hand or your arm, Noah.” As long as he was eating his fries, he was fine. No coughing fits. Problem is, he eats fast. Judah, on the other hand, took his time.
I looked at Sheri. She does so well with Noah and Judah! She looked tired though. Right at that moment, I could relate. Before lunch was finished, Sheri confirmed her fatigue. She needed to leave. Honestly, at this point, I was ready to leave, as well. After Sheri left, I pulled my wallet out to pay the bill. Heads turned from the booth in front of me every time Noah coughed. The waitress stopped one last time to ask if Noah wanted some tea for his throat. I can take a hint.
“No, thanks. I’ve got stuff for him in the car. We’re just leaving.”
As Judah was lying down in the booth laughing loudly, and Noah was feigning to lose a lung, I quickly counted my cash. One of the three men from the table next to us walked over to our table. Oh, boy. Brace yourself, Becky.
“Ma’am, I’d like to take care of your bill for you.” He picked up my bill.
Stunned. I wanted to say, “Really? Why?” I have to admit, my first thought was, I’m sure we’re making you uncomfortable. And I bet you’re offering to pay our bill to get us out of here faster.
As I studied his face, I saw sincerity and genuine generosity. “Thank you,” I managed, still a little dazed.
He took my bill and sat back down. I quickly gathered my two drama kings and pushed them toward the door. I glanced his way as I passed his table. “Thank you so much!” Our eyes met for a second. “You’re very welcome. We understand. You are very welcome.”
Once back in the safety of our car, the coughing fits quieted and giggles ensued. Everyone was happy, and I had a moment to process. He understood. Those two words said it all. He didn’t want us out. He understood. And he was kind.
A great reminder of a time to be grateful. But this could have happened on any day, during any week, in the middle of any month. It’s always a time to be grateful.
Sometimes I just need a little perspective.