i love mcdonald’s. LOVE it! i know, many people think it’s gross, including my husband. but my kids and i, we could dine there every day. yes, dine. yes, every day.
you can’t beat a cheap place with a playland and yummy food. and you can’t beat a mcdonald’s cheeseburger plain with a large order of fries and a coke. maybe the large fries are keeping me from being in the shape i want to be in. should be a hint to myself, but sometimes i can’t deny my mcdonald’s cravings.
yesterday i had a meeting scheduled at church from 9:30am-11:30am. several people were expected, but only two of us showed up. we spent about 25 minutes talking and then ended our time. we were done early. we could go home. or…we could go to mcdonald’s! the boys were so excited. and so was i!
it’s always interesting to observe parents and children at a mcdonald’s playland. i like to see who has good parenting skills, and who doesn’t. who has good behavior, and who doesn’t. i like to see how my children interact with the other children. i like to see how other parents interact with me and one another. yesterday all the kids did great. and i had a few interesting encounters.
at first there was just one other parent and child combo in the playland.
stranger #1(to my boys, about her daughter): her name is brooke, if you want to play with her.
my boys: i am wilbur and i am 5. he is 4 and his name is orville.
stranger #1(to me): i have a 6 year old too. she is in kindergarten. if you want to go order your food, they can stay in here and i’ll watch them.
me: that’s very kind of you, but we’re not eating yet. i am going to let them play a little first.
stranger #1: oh. really? we always eat first and then play.
me: oh. okay. well, my boys just had a snack and it’s a little early for their lunch(it was 10:30am).
stranger #1: okay. well maybe you could watch my daughter while i go have a cigarette.
me: um, okay.
she never went to have one. but, i thought it was interesting that she asked. seriously. we just met. and you’d leave your child with me. for a cigarette? yikes.
another lady comes in. she has a little boy with her. while my boys are playing they tell me they can’t find the pink slide, which happens to be the tallest and most exciting slide. i leave our table so i can walk around the playland, telling them what tubes to go through to get to the pink slide.
stranger #2(the new lady): they’re so cute. are they yours?
me: thank you. yes, they are. (me inside: that cut straight to my heart. why are you asking? should i tell her they are adopted? they don’t look like me. is that why she asked? my heart hurts. they are mine. but they aren’t mine. did you need to ask that? i didn’t ask you if the little boy with you was yours. really, did you have to ask?)
stranger #1: how old are your boys again?
me: the oldest will be 6 in july, so i guess i can just say he’s 6. the youngest one turned 4 in february. then we have a daughter who is 7. she’s at school, in first grade.
stranger #1: oh, i have two girls. i always wanted a boy. but, we’re done. my husband said no more. he had the magic surgery with the golden scissors. i was disappointed i didn’t have a boy.
me: you could always adopt. (me inside: how can you complain about not having a boy? wishing you would have, i can understand. but being disappointed? you should be thankful you have children at all. and what about people who only have boys? don’t you think they’d be thankful for one of your girls?)
stranger #1: i wouldn’t adopt now. not while my kids are young. maybe someday.
me: i can understand that. (me inside: i honestly can. but i know you won’t adopt. and you likely shouldn’t anyway.)
i then overhear stranger #2 telling a friend of hers that the little boy with her is her great nephew. maybe that’s why she asked if my boys were mine. made me feel a little better. but not totally.
stranger #3, stranger #4, and stranger #5(all saying the same thing): your boys are adorable.
me(each time): thank you. they are. (me inside: oh, they are adorable. and i know it. and i hear it all the time. because they really are that adorable. but yes, thank you.)
stranger #6 to stranger #7(two men who were sitting right next to me, talking about the affairs their wives have had. i didn’t interact with them, but the stories i heard broke my heart.): my wife actually said that she could justify her affair because it started before Christmas. this showed they had been together for a while and so the affair should be okay. but i told her no, that only makes it worse. that just means you were lying to me longer.
stranger #7 to stranger #6: i can’t believe she actually said that to you.
i can’t believe it either i thought. should i say something to them? should i tell them i am sorry? should i tell them all women aren’t like this? i didn’t say anything. it wasn’t my place. and the setting wasn’t exactly ideal.
i didn’t say most of what i was thinking/feeling at mcdonald’s yesterday. most people wouldn’t understand. but maybe i should try it sometime.