I’m working at a coffee shop this afternoon. The Internet is out at my house, and it’s nice to take a break from the non-stop dog humping.
Side note: My sweet friend Mo asked if Lil’ Frankfurter had a good Hump Day. The answer? Every day is hump day to Lil’ Frank!
So, I’m at a coffee shop, where no one is currently humping anyone else … at least within my line of sight. It’s rather refreshing.
My heart is a little bit broken.
A grandpa came in with his teenage grandson. The grandpa was probably pushing 80; his grandson was maybe 18. They got a cookie and iced coffees, and sat briefly while they shared the cookie.
The grandson gave off a vibe not of embarrassment, but of … hurried resignation.
When you’re 18, you’re in a hurry. And your parents aren’t cool. Your grandparents are even more hopeless. You hang out with them out of obligation. It’s what you do between the important stuff, like soccer practice and chilling with friends.
Friends, I would give my eye teeth to have coffee with my grandpa. I don’t even like coffee. I’d drink it black, scalding hot on this heat-indexed day, to chat with my grandpa.
One thing you don’t realize when you’re 18 is that your grandparents get it. They were 18 once. They knew what it was like to have someplace more important to be. They are smarter than you can even fathom.
If you’re lucky, they act like they don’t see your impatience. They pretend they don’t know you think you’re doing them some huge favor. They love you anyway. And they know that this will pass.
If you’re lucky, you pay attention to what they are trying to tell you, of how they show you what they’ve learned.
I’m embarrassed that I was once the hurried 18-year-old, that I didn’t always pay attention. I’m ashamed at the sense that I wasted even a tiny opportunity.
My brother and I were so blessed to have grandparents who lived just minutes away, kind people who were involved in our lives. Good people who lived well – they loved their family. They were thankful for everything they had. They had fun. They served their community.
I guess we learned all of this not in big, flashy moments, but in the quiet everyday. We laughed at “The Golden Girls” and savored homegrown tomatoes.
And so, when we had moments of being 18, it was OK.
But I still wanted to shake the kid in the coffee shop. Pay attention. Don’t miss this. It won’t always be available, and then you’ll really want it, and your heart will break.
My husband always gives me the heel of the bread, because he knows it’s my favorite. My grandparents used to play cards to see who got the heel – they both loved it. And they loved each other – and us. I hope that I carry that with me.