With the end of summer mere weeks away, I’ve been trying to squeeze in a few more ‘summer-fun’ activities before school starts.
The problem with trying to generate ‘summer-fun’ is that my co-participants are rarely thrilled to do anything that involves leaving the house. An outcome I did not expect.
I feel like I entered summer somewhat prepared. I did research. I came up with activities. I created a [loose] schedule for the copious amount of free time. And then it all hit a major snag: uninterested children.
As in, ‘who wants to go on a bike ride?’ ‘Not me! Not me! Not me!’
I’m sure the answer would have been different if I’d asked ‘who wants to go for ice cream?’ but I’m not sure daily ice cream runs would have been in anyone’s best interest.
But maybe I’ll try that next summer.
So seeing as summer is fleeting, I’ve adopted a slightly more forceful approach to generating ‘summer fun’.
As in, ‘we’re going to the Reader Rock Garden‘. Now. Followed by several ‘I don’t want to go to the garden’ complaints. Followed by me getting in the car with disgruntled passengers.
We arrived at the Garden and, save the first few panicky moments when I thought I’d [unknowingly] taken the boys to a cemetery, it was beautiful.
The older boys followed the rocky paths with something resembling enthusiasm. The paths were lined with interesting flowers and shrubs. And there was a cafe.
‘Can we go to the cafe?’ the Gort begged when he saw the little sign pointing in the direction of the eatery. ‘Maybe,’ I hedged, reluctant to abandon the beauty after only two minutes.
We walked some more and found ourselves face to face with the brick-colored house that had been converted into a cafe. ‘Please can we go to the cafe,’ the Gort begged. Again. ‘Okay,’ I relented, with visions of mother-son[s] bonding over quaint sandwiches, muffins and lemonade.
Upon entering the dining room, the hostess asked if we had a reservation. I looked around at the fairly empty space. ‘No.’ ‘Okay.’ And she seated us. I picked up the paper menu with its curly font; sensing I was not in sandwich-muffin territory, after all. A glance at the offerings confirmed my suspicion. Unless I bolted before the waitress returned with our water – something I’d only been brave enough to do once, at Denny’s – I was about to drop a lot of money on lunch.
To make matters worse, I was about to drop a lot of money on food no one besides me, and possibly the Gort, would even eat.
I ordered the barbeque chicken lunch, figuring the boys would at least like the corn on the cob. And a red quinoa salad, figuring they’d eaten quinoa at home. Whilst waiting for our food, I talked to them about being gentlemen – that it meant not turning the paper menus into airplanes (seriously?!) and placing their napkins on their laps. All while marveling at the fact that I was sitting down in a nice-ish restaurant with all three boys.
Finally, after many long minutes and at least one water-glass-spill, the food arrived. The barbeque chicken plate consisted of a thigh coated in sauce, a corn on the cob remnant measuring roughly an inch and a half long, some limp coleslaw and a little bowl of potato salad. My vision of red quinoa sprinkled with sweet potatoes and kale and strawberries, turned into a bowl of romaine lettuce….sprinkled with quinoa et al.
I ate the salad. The Gort ate most of the chicken and the boys each had a nibble of the corn on the cob. Fortyfivedollars later, with a complimentary peppermint lifesaver in each of our mouths, we left.