I remember the stage of life where a wave of “We’re pregnant!” announcements would sweep through my circle of friends and acquaintances. It seemed that babies came in clusters, like sweet little grapes.
|One of the joys of being a grandparent: walking in the woods and swapping stories|
Well, I’ve now come to the part of life where my friends are proudly announcing to the world that they’re about to become grandparents. I had coffee and a bowl of cabbage soup (there’s a grandma version of a Happy Meal if ever there was one) with a friend who just learned that her daughter was expecting. She was overjoyed, but told me she was having a hard time wrapping her mind around her new identity. “It’s a little weird to be the grandparent,” she said. “Grandparents are…well…old.”
I reminded her that I became a grandparent at 44, and we both laughed. I said I had a hard time coming to terms with the generation shift, as well. I told her about when I first felt those gears shift at, of all places, McDonald’s.
I was visiting my daughter, son-in-law and grandson Gabriel when the three were living in El Paso, TX. I volunteered to take Gabriel for a few hours of grandma-grandson bonding time. We played at the park and then stopped at a nearby Mickey D’s for a meal. I ordered him a Happy Meal, and as I unpacked the contents of the little red and yellow cardboard box inside the noisy restaurant, I was struck with the holy profundity of the moment.
(Yes, it is possible to have a transcendent moment at McDonald’s.)
When our three kids were preschoolers and we stopped at the Golden Arches for a meal, I would order the same thing for them every time: three hamburgers, a large fries and a large Coke with three straws. We couldn’t afford to buy three Happy Meals. I also realized that even if we could afford to upgrade to a Happy Meal even once, doing so would have been a parenting misstep because we’d be doomed to a choir of whining every time we ate at McDonald’s ever after.
That day in El Paso with Gabriel, I didn’t hesitate for a moment when placing my order for a Happy Meal. I could now afford both the cost and the consequences* of ordering the Happy Meal.
Because I am a grandma.
*I know, I know. McDonalds burgers and fries don’t decay, and may not even be real food.
2 thoughts on “Happy meal”
Interesting reflection on the seasons of life, Michelle, even if it did come at McDonald's. LOL I skipped the parenting season of life and am still adjusting to being called "Grandma" by a step-granddaughter. Yes, I see gray hair in the mirror, but I only know how to be an aunt; I don't really know how to be a grandma. Maybe I'll start with Happy Meals!
There's no predicting when those deep moments happen, is there? You might be brushing your teeth and have a big "ah ha" from God.
Being a step-grandma is a pretty fun gig, I imagine!