To offer my oldest son one of his first tastes of independence, not to mention sneaking in a math lesson while I’m at it, I have let him, for the last several months, go into a local restaurant by himself to pay for and pick up our occasional (okay, weekly) takeout. And by “by himself,” please know (1) it’s a family-owned restaurant right around the corner from our home and one we’ve frequented probably a hundred times; (2) I park–most likely illegally– right in front of the door so he does not need to walk across the parking lot; and (3) I can see him the entire time. I put the food under his name–Oscar–and he relishes this moment when he is “on his own,” negotiating business, feeling big. He walks proudly to the car carrying our dinner and counting and formulating a plan to keep the change.
But tonight he exited with an extra spring in his step.
“Mom, mom, guess what?”
“Some man in the restaurant asked me when I walked in if I was stopping in tonight for a beer!”
“He said WHAT?”
“He asked if I was having a beer! Isn’t that funny?”
“Um . . . no, it’s not funny. You are eight years old.”
“You are a child! It’s not funny, Oscar.”
“Oh, but it is. And do you know why?”
“Because the man was at least 90 years old. If he was a young guy, it would definitely be inappropriate. But because he was, you know, excuse me, elderly, well, it shows his wit, wouldn’t you say?”
Wouldn’t I say?
What can I say?