Monday, October 23, 2006

Hello Florida!

Today I am literally dropping in from on the road. I am on the I-95 in Florida, and accessing the internet via cell phone towers. We have driven through the night and, as usual, breakfasted at Cracker Barrel.

As we tucked into the pancakes and bacon, oatmeal and biscuits with the coffee coming as fast as we could drain our cups I heard chuckles from various tables. The last chuckle was followed by; "Hup - it's off! Isn't she a doll?"

I glanced at the end of the table and sure enough Elsa's bib was off and she was digging into her pancake and blackberries with great gusto. You could barely disguinish her eyes from the smudge of berries that were disguising her chubby cheeks. Her delight in her breakfast drew admiring glances and more chuckles from all around. Glad for a lull in her high spirits that had kept me in full motion, I went back to my pancakes.

Suddenly a voice spoke from over my right shoulder.

"You have such lovely children and so well behaved!"

"Thank you." I responded gratfully, while trying to hide my embarrasment. It was so good to know that despite my needing to crawl under the table numerous times to retrieve the endless stream of crayons that flowed there as well as hunt down runaway spoons and straws (not to be used again!) that my children appeared to be well behaved.

But then it dawned on me as I helped the children gather up their napkins, activity books and stickers while we prepared to leave that perhaps one of the reasons my children seem to be so well behaved is because we don't hang up my parent's hat at the restaurant door. Even though this break from driving is as much needed by my husband and I, we are still focussed on the children. We are attentive to their needs, we converse with them and engage their attention until the dinner arrives. We also realize that while traveling to different States can be an adventursome - the long hours remaining stationary in the van are not.

After so many hours of sitting the children need to be able to move about as much as possible, one of the reasons we typically choose Cracker Barrel for our only sit down dinner break. While waiting for our table, the children are able to preuse the merchandise, touch the stuffed toys and drool over the barrels of candy sometimes eliciting bribes, errr, I mean promises of possible treats if 'we behave ' at the table. After dinner before we strap up the car seats and do up the seatbelts there is our now customary race to the front porch barrel and back. Several races were needed today before the young ones seemed even just a little tired.

Now as I type on the keyboard Elsa, once again recognizable after a quick wash down by her daddy, is snoozing in her car seat. The others are once again enjoying the scenery and calling punch buggies on me and I am basking in the various compliments we received today. And feeling grateful. Very, very grateful for strangers noticing and taking the time to compliment my husband and I on our children's behaviour! Truly our children's behaviour is thanks enough, but the compliments certainly add icing to the cake.


Lorcan said...

I think Cracker Barrel is the place Genie and I first discovered driving from Texas to, as it turned out, Quebec... some where in the south. If it was the one I think it is, we were surprised to find it was a chain, it had a very unique home-like feel.

So much of our work is obvious to others, as we see the process and labor, others see the results. I am so happy thee had the occasion to have the results made plain in the eyes of others.

I need a road trip myself! Joy and success on thine.

Thine in the light

PS Do drop by my Flickr site, it is the first day of the feast to end Ramadan, Eid ul-Fitr. I came accross an early morning prayer service for several hundred Muslims in my neighborhood, and was welcomed in to photograph it. It was a wonderful, warm and joyful gathering. It marks a time when, during a fast, three things are asked of God, that he might recognise our needs, hear our atonement - and forgive, and hear our need for his compasion with is limitless. As the meeting ended, everyone rose and walked about hugging each other, and me as well... it was a moving thing to see God's love being shared, though we speak his words in different languages. I was touched that bags were circulated and each gave an amount of mony based on the number of people in their family, to be given to the poor, as in their faith, through the year, two and a half percent, at least of their income must be given to the poor. It was lovely to see fathers giving their children their share to put into the alms bags, and the joy on the face of the children as they felt the joy and responcibility of giving.

Lindsay said...

Awww. :o) You have such a lovely family, Christi. It must be difficult to keep them all well-behaved considering how many you have running around, but you seem to be doing a very marvelous job at it! Truly an inspiration to future mothers. :o) And, well, any current ones as well.

Jen said...

I am so glad you got such wonderful comments. It can be daunting going out to eat with a large group, esp if that group consists of wee ones. I like your idea for long distance driving. We travel to Baton Rouge from Maryland and it's a two day drive. Next time we go, we'll make sure to stop at a Crackel Barrell and let the kids run back and forth!