I remember when the kids were smaller, and we would brave the world of “eating out”. Usually it consistent of bad fast food, hurried restaurants, just-this-side of clean tables … but somehow, it seemed some kind of reprieve from the mundane life and the craziness of all we had swirling around us.
While one of us corralled the children and dealt the condiments, the other would wait at the bar for the “food”. Usually I was there at the table, listening to the multiple conversations my children had, nodding appropriately, answering when I could It seemed that most times, at a table over in the corner of the place, there would be an “older couple,” sitting there, unspeaking and simply meticulously eating their lunch.
I use to pity them. They seemed so … lonely. I would joke that they had probably been together so long they’d run out of things to say. Midst my own chaos, I would rejoice, because I had so much going on. Even in the crazy, I would love on my kids … try to listen closer, engage more, and fear the day that I would be one of those “quiet” couples without any family nearby.
Today, my husband and I went to Wendy’s. Our kids are dispersed literally around the world right now. Even the ones that still sleep at my home most nights have busy schedule. Friends, travel choir, sports … their own lives. So today, we found ourselves flying solo for lunch.
After we ordered, an entire bus of elementary school children and their parents came in. Chaos ensued … the noise, the clutter, the chatter! One young family set near us … Dad, Mom, a five-year old, a two-year old and a tiny baby. Happy, loud, not getting their order right … frustration with one another, working to keep the kids occupied.
And there the DH and I sat. Quietly sharing a fry. Savoring the chili. Not talking a whole lot, but simply being together on this gray day. Later the busy would hit. It was a uniquely unscheduled day for us, and to just sit there, the two of us, for just a brief minute was … refreshing. We watched, smiling at the two-year old. DH went to get more soda, and I just marinated in the atmosphere for a few.
It wasn’t lonely at all. It was … refreshing.
Yeah, I miss my kids. But those days aren’t over … they’re just fewer and farther between. I treasure the time together and greatly anticipate the crazy-busy summer that’s just over the horizon for us. But for a brief moment, the quiet couple in the corner was us.
And it wasn’t half bad.