A Dinner Guest

We went out for dinner tonight, just the four of us, our little family, but we didn’t eat alone.  Outside the restaurant, a small girl with sunkissed blond ringlets waited for us to arrive.  Curls bouncing and eyes laughing, she ran up to us as we walked over to the doors, saying, “Are you going to dinner?  You can go in here.  It’s open.”  Confused at first, and pausing to take a picture (I’ll tell you why tomorrow), we were polite but distant. 

But as we continued inside, she ushered us in and offered the boys crayons.  (“This place has the best crayons,” she said proudly.)  And we understood why in a few minutes, as we learned that she was the daughter of the owner and the waitstaff, granddaughter of the cook, and her grandmother and aunt were there keeping an eye on her and baby brother while their parents worked to keep the place open.  The crayons were her own, you see, and she came over to offer them to us along with her own coloring book.

Widget was entranced.

She asked to join us, and we of course said yes, let’s pull up a chair for you, and you kids can color together until the food arrives.  We did, and she did, and they colored away, sharing adjacient pages and trading crayons, whispering now and again to each other while WonderDaddy and I talked about the day’s events and helped Little Bear figure out the straw.

She was a delightful dinner guest, leaving unobtrusively with her mama when the food arrived and giving us a bit of space to get everyone fed.  When we were finished eating, she came back again and asked to play hide and seek.  Widget eagerly agreed, and they were off and running.  Well, not running.  It was a restaurant, of course, and neither her mother nor I would let them misbehave.  But they did scamper, and spin, and twirl, and the childish laughter floating over the empty tables was unmistakable.  My little Widget, child who has been though so very much this year, was laughing and bouncing with glee with this newfound friend.

Her name is Emily, and although her mama expressed regret and gratitude for her behavior and our acceptance, I told her that it was I who was grateful, for it was wonderful to see the children play and hear them laugh.

10 Responses to A Dinner Guest

  1. Stimey says:

    I LOVE the way kids can meet each other and instantly be best friends for an hour or two. It’s an incredible thing to watch.

  2. sprucehillfarm says:

    Wonderful story. I love to see kids just having fun. It makes my heart happy.🙂

  3. Kacy says:

    If all dinner guests were as sweet – wouldn`t eating out be enjoyable.

  4. Bon says:

    i know childhood is not idyllic, but it does have magic…and your evening with Emily sounds magical. especially she and Widget playing…that must have done your heart good.

  5. bcjenster says:

    What a beautiful post! I love the innocence and joy of childhood and she sounds like a little angel. As choked up as I am right now I can only imaging how overwhelming that happiness must have been for you!

  6. Courtney says:

    Dear Whymommy-
    I have been reading your blog now and again for a few months. I found you through another blog that I accidentally stumbled upon (funny story: I was looking for nursery rhymes on the internet and found “Love Letters to Little Bear” then I found you). I don’t have cancer, but I am an nurse and a mom. I find myself enthralled and inspired with all of your postings. Not just for your writings about life with cancer, but just life itself. Thank you for your writings, your inspirations, your awareness of life and reality, and thank you for letting me sneak into your world-you are inspiring me to be better. Thanks- Courtney
    Sioux Falls, SD

  7. Becky says:

    What a GREAT post! I love the friendships of children. My husband is a chef, and you can often find our kiddos hanging out in the kitchen at the inn!

    Can’t wait to hear more about the picture!

  8. Isn’t it nice that kids can make friends wherever they go? Glad you enjoyed your dinner with your unexpected guest! 🙂

  9. NYfriend says:

    How wonderful!

    So nice to see there are still some truly family-run businesses too. 🙂

  10. Laurie says:

    This is wonderful! And I know EXACTLY how you felt.

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