As Christmas approaches, it is time for a tradition that I initiated last December…taking each of my five grandchildren out for dinner and shopping. These outings allow me to have one-on-one time with the kids and the children have an opportunity to buy gifts for their family members.
I picked up Oliver after school and off we went. The kids make the decisions about where to shop, what to buy, and where to eat for dinner. Oliver is the middle child in his family. He is used to his older brother or younger sister calling the shots. He politely asked me questions about what I thought we should do. However, when I returned the decision making back to him, he grinned and quickly picked out two stores to shop in.
Oliver selected great gifts for his family, in a minimal amount of time. On the way to Freddy’s, his choice for dinner, we played a game of “What’s your favorite…”. We both like the color blue. My favorite movie is the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. His current favorite is the recent Middle School comedy. I like to vacation in Scotland. He enjoys Florida and Branson.
We discussed school and Christmas and football over dinner. I was thrilled to discover that Freddy’s has a veggie burger on their menu. I tossed the bun. Oliver was brave and tried a bite of my unconventional burger. He not only picked up our meals when our number was called, he also cleared our table after we ate.
I treasure these times with the grandchildren. Each child gets my full attention. I get to engage in lively conversations and hear that child’s unique thoughts about life and the world. Oliver bemoaned the fact that he still has seven years before he can drive. I am quite content for him to be a child for a while longer. I know how quickly the years will pass. All too soon he will be waving that driver’s license and heading off on new adventures. Even then, though, we will have dinner together and go Christmas shopping, Oliver and Yaya. He’s already offered to drive.