We pulled up to a familiar parking spot in the shopping center less than a mile from home that is "open for our convenience" during a massive renovation. I noticed the "Fresh Mex" signage had been removed to reveal a definite need for paint. Must be part of the improvements. Up we skipped, Reid anticipating trying something new, the Fresh Mex pizza he saw on the menu last time. "What do you think they put on it...beans?...jalapenos...," we mused.
As he bounded toward the double doors to procure a table for two, I squinted in puzzlement to see the familiar hostess carrying wall hangings out of the foyer. Security guards helped her rather than waiters. Eh? Shock. Dismay. A sign. Closed? For good? You've got to be kidding. Why was I not informed? We have a problem Houston. Start explaining, slowly. Poor Reid. He's been following this kiddie meal around like a carrot on a stick for the last 48 hours. Prepare for meltdown. All these thoughts ran through my mind, lightning-fast.
Fortunately, my reactions were his reactions. So, with genuine surprise I bombarded the poor catering manager with all our questions. She knows us from countless incidents, I mean visits. In short order, her head was on Reid's shoulder acting out her grief and loss at the fact that we might not be seeing her again. He was giggling and laughing in emotional overflow and confusion. The security guard entered in to the impromptu lovefest, handing me coupons to their sister restaurant some miles away. (Like we're gonna drive there.)
Chevy's was the place. Since the kids could only toddle, we've had birthdays there. And weekday bail-out dinners, and after school rewards, and welcomed entourages of out of town guests for their first indoctrination to Mexican food. A flood of memories ensued. The yippers, we called them--waiters with sombreros--singing "Happy Happy Birthday from all of us to you!" No more yippers? Oh this is hard to bear.
In fiesta formation, they'd approach a table shouting loudly, "YIP YIP YIp Yip YIP Yip Yip!" donning the birthday celebrant with a souvenir sombrero. It was a definite obstacle when Reid was little with such hypersensitivity. I remember times he wouldn't enter unless we could assure him it was no one's birthday. "No yippers, tonight? Are you sure?" he'd ask in sheer dread at the door. We'd tell the waiters to whisper-sing his yips and give us plenty of notice if it was our special day. He couldn't eat, ears covered, eyes wide, waiting until they'd come, yipped, and gone. Oh, memories...and how far we've come.
"This is my low point, ma'am. My highpoint was earning Chevy's. My lowpoint is Chevy's being closed. I'm gonna write this in my journal."
And with not much breathing space in between, "Mom, where should we go? I know, Rubio's! How bought that...since Chevy's is closed." Resilience, I tell you. Reid is nothing if not resilient.
I gave him a free upgrade and we headed to Las Olas, another of the many Mexican haunts in our town. "Great idea mom."
Off we went, smiling and joyful. The best was yet to come though. And this is true for each of us. Have you noticed that God is constantly changing things up? Moving us into new territory, into new covenants, out of slavery, into promised lands. If we'll go. Do we shift willingly when one door closes? This is a season of change for us. Allie's in college; we're at a new church; many of my friends are going back to work as their nests empty; Reid's at a new school, with new electives and clubs and people. To make progress will always require change. He's my role model for embracing it.
The meal proceeded like I was sitting with a Chatty Cathy doll and someone pulling a string on his back to keep it going. It was one of those glimpses of potential that still lurks beneath the surface. Each time a new layer is removed it can be washed ashore when the tide is right.
If Jim had been there, he would've agreed, "he's firing on all cylinders tonight." Everything about the conversation and sequencing was above average...even the volume just a smidge.
"MMmmmm this burrito is good. Thank you!" to the waitress.
"Isn't she friendly?" as she turned to get our drinks.
"This is the best burrito. I'll wait til you pay the check now."
"Lets go home and read Oliver in the family room."
On and on his running monologue revealed awareness, appreciation, and ability. All I could do was smile, laugh out loud amazed and try to keep up with the banter.
Sing it with me in your loudest voice: "I'm here, LORD. Wherever you wanna go next."
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:18
The LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning... Job 42:11-13
And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:4-6