Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap

You ask about children in adult places like fancy restaurants.  I answer with a story and a poll of my own.

There once was a woman who spent most of her time at home with a precocious five-year old daughter and a rambunctious baby boy.  She lived in a strange city far from her mother and her southern roots.  She learned how to manage her time and her children as she waited for her husband to come home from work.  Sometimes the waiting was almost unbearable for he traveled several weeks a month in his new job and she had no outside help or knowledge of a single good babysitter.

She fought the weariness of diapers, mac and cheese, sesame street, laundry and the sound of her own voice.  And then there was the snow.  Lots of it.  She didn’t get out much because of the enormous effort it took to bundle everybody up and she worried about the slick pavement.  She learned how to shovel the walk and clear a path for the mailman whom refused to deliver the mail if she didn’t.

One evening her husband was due home after a four-day trip and she had every  intention of preparing his favorite meal.  The day got away from her and there was nothing on the stove or in the oven when arrived.  He cheerfully announced that he was taking the family out for dinner.  Not the typical fast food family restaurant, but a “fancy” restaurant.  Overjoyed at the prospect of a much-needed break, she jumped into action, readying herself and the children.

They arrived at the restaurant, not exactly 4 star but fancy enough, and took the table in the corner that the hostess selected for them.  The woman put her toddler in the high chair and then sat down with her husband and daughter.  Smiling, she ordered her favorite dish and anxiously waited.  As she waited the baby began to fuss.  The mother reached in her diaper bag and brought out a pacifier.  It calmed him for a bit.  Then he fussed some more.  Out came the crackers and juice.  The baby got a little louder.  The husband and the daughter jumped in, trying all their tricks to calm the unhappy child who relished the attention.

Finally the meal came and everyone was happy and calm.  The mother was about to take her first bite when a woman from another table stormed over and yelled  at the little family for spoiling her dinner.  “I didn’t come out to dinner to listen to your baby cry,” she fumed and her voice shook with rage.

Shocked and embarrassed, the husband asked for the check and told his wife to take the children and get in the car.  She grabbed up the baby, took her daughter’s   hand and walked out crying.  He paid the bill and left the restaurant, never acknowledging the nods of sympathy from many of the diners and the untouched food on four plates.

Please take a moment and answer my poll (click on results to view)

Related articles


59 year old Grandmother gives birth


Me in my 72nd month

I must have been crazy to attempt this at my age. Some people were very pessimistic. Then again, the people who love me most, encouraged me to go for it. There were many times that I thought I would lose her, when I had to mentally say good-bye, but somehow she managed to survive. Last night  my much-anticipated miracle baby entered the world with all the hoopla I could muster.

The gestation period began six years ago with A Boy, A ball and a Book. In the early stages of development, I timidly shared my news with a few friends. Their reaction gave me courage and though, to most people I was barely “showing”, I was glowing! And then I started blabbing about it to anyone and everyone who would listen. I am pretty sure that I bored some of you to death, you know who you are, and that you began to think that this blessed event would never happen. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Despite the odds, my book began to grow, a book created to honor the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, specifically, Janelle aka. “Grandmama.”

Preparing for this baby, I purchased a LLC agreement, a copy right, a business license, a checking account, a credit card, a web domain, an e-book developer, a pay-pal account, a Facebook page and a blog. I studied and read articles about publishing, dabbled in internet social marketing, asked advice of others, took advice from some, and weeded through scads of on-line help sites. I learned the difference between Android and I-things, tablets, pads, nooks and kindles. Apple, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Google, Go-Daddy, and WordPress, are now old friends, sometimes irritating, sometimes helpful.

Like my baby, I too have grown, especially in my struggle with control and collaboration, initiative, patience and faith. Here are a few things I have learned in the long period between conception and delivery.

Lessons About the Birthing Process

  1. You are overjoyed at the initial prospect
  2. You think and dream about her all the time/wonder what to name her
  3. You are afraid that you are inadequate for the task/self-doubt escalates as time goes on
  4. You hope that your baby will be early, or at least on time, beautiful and healthy
  5. False labor occurs over and over/you have to relax, focus, regroup and wait
  6. Real Labor eventually happens/much more is required of you than you ever imagined
  7. There is a lot of excitement and pain/labor lasts a long, long, time
  8. When you feel like you cannot push again, you push again
  9. During transition, you may feel like cussing out everyone in the room.
  10. When she arrives, you quickly forget all about the struggle to get her here
  11. There is joy
  12. You wonder about doing it all over again

To view the “baby” Click Here


( This post has been linked to:)  GRAND Social

Big Shoes to Fill


I was his favorite, or maybe my sister was, or my cousin.  I loved him so much that we named our firstborn, a daughter, after him.  I would crawl up in his lap and breathe in the old spice and the clean sharp smell of a bleached white shirt.  He would always let me try out his hearing aid with its mysterious static-y background, testing it out by saying,  “Hello, Gwen-o-Spears.”  I always giggled at his play on my name and how he repeatedly called girls, little boys and boys, little girls.  I don’t know why all the grandkids thought this was so hilarious, but we did.

He did not take us on outings,  play hide and seek or read us bedtime stories.  He didn’t always listen to everything we had to say, falling asleep in his recliner in front of the TV, baseball game turned on and hearing aid off.  He rarely gave us presents.*  He never attended our sporting events, class plays or piano recitals.  I don’t know why we all adored him, but we did.

Mother told me that Papaw was a real self-made man.  He had to quit school in the 8th grade and go to work, common for children of the Great Depression.  He eventually married, raised two sons, two daughters and built a successful hardware business.  I remember his hardware store, with every tool and gadget you can imagine and an upstairs floor full of toys, an addition when the grandchildren started coming.

There are family tales about my grandfather, like the time he read about a family who lost their home in a fire the week before Christmas.  Apparently, he found the location of their temporary living quarters, loaded up his car with food, tree and toys, and delivered everything to them on Christmas eve.  There are recollections of people who wrote or came by after he passed away, letting us know about secret ways in which he had helped them through a difficult time or two.  There were store receipts of unpaid balances reduced or forgiven, evidence of his helping someone else in financial trouble.

His good works prove that he was a good man, but the grandchildren were not all that impressed with the things he did or did not do, and the grandchildren knew him best, loved him most.  It had everything to do with who he was.  He was bigger than life, kinder than anyone, loving, warm, silly, gentle, kind, comforting and comfortable.  All thirteen grandchildren, now grandparents ourselves, think of him often, pray to be like him, miss him still.


*He actually paid for Santa and gave our parents help in lean times……but we didn’t know that then.