My older son recently had a doctor’s appointment that kept him away from school during his school lunch hour. After his appointment was finished, we went out to lunch to celebrate another year of good health. (Never mind that we were celebrating with a basket of tortilla chips!)
The waiter seemed eager to chat with us.
“What’s your name, amigo?” he asked my son. “How old are you?”
When he found out that my son was eight years old, he became even more excited.
“I have three daughters. They are nine, seven and four.”
I wondered if they might attend my son’s school, so I asked if they lived in the area.
“Oh, no,” the waiter frowned. “They live in Mexico.”
As our lunch continued, we learned more about his daughters. The older one has more difficulty in school. The middle daughter is an academic whiz. He bought them a karaoke machine a few years ago and now they are pros at giving speeches in school, which they give in front of all the students during flag ceremonies.
“I’m going to see them in a month or so,” he told us, the excitement back in his voice.
“When is the last time you were there?” I asked.
“Two years ago.”
Later that day, I tried to explain to both of my sons why I imagine the waiter lives in the U.S. and his family lives in Mexico. I tried to help them understand just how long it’s been since the waiter has seen his family.
“Think of it this way,” I told my sons. “He’s missed two birthdays, two Christmases, two Halloweens.”
In those terms, both of them instantly got it.
“No. He’s missed eight birthdays, Mom! Two of each of his daughters’ birthdays and two of his wife’s birthdays,” my older son said, his head shaking in disbelief.
“I’d miss you and Daddy and my brother,” my younger son said.
That night it was unanimous at our table: we are grateful to be together. For the birthdays, for Halloween, and even for the every day ups and downs.
photo courtesy of stock.xchng