On December 15th, I told my sons, 23, 20 and 16, that on Friday the 17th I would like to take them out to eat and then go Christmas shopping together.
On a normal day, I am lucky to get a grunt in response to questions and, if I am especially fortunate, eye contact.
Following my announcement, I got eye contact, verbal affirmation that it was a great idea, and a promise to be available.
It took a little bit of coordination to include my 20-year-old because he worked in Rocky Hill at the time, the opposite direction from where we typically shop and eat out.
Three of us headed to Waterford at 3 p.m. to get ahead of the Friday evening Christmas horde. My 23-year-old was in contact, via text, with his younger brother letting him know where we were as we shopped.
We visited Books-a-Million first (great place to find interesting, unusual gifts) and Best Buy next, where my tall 20-year-old caught up with us. I saw him out of the corner of my eye and immediately smiled.
We were together.
We talked with a salesperson for a bit about the differences between XBox One, Playstation 4, Playstation Pro and Nintendo’s new gaming console that will release in a few months, then spent a few minutes looking at PC gaming peripherals.
I bought a hard drive docking station so I can access my collection of old hard drives. We headed to Buffalo Wild Wings for an early dinner.
It was approximately 5 p.m. when we arrived at a very loud restaurant, from the music, not people talking; the place was practically empty. I asked the host if there were any quiet tables. Thankfully, there was a side room where music was not piped in where it was bearable. I was there to spend time with my sons, not listen to bad music.
Since it was the first time for two of us, it took us quite awhile to figure out how the menu worked. It is unnecessarily complicated. Seriously.
We ordered three appetizers and drinks. I had to hit the ladies’ room, so I asked my 23-year-old to order me something dark or amber from the menu. He knows what I like.
When I returned, it was only a few minutes before my delicious amber ale arrived. Yum.
The best part of the evening was that I was sitting with my sons around a table with fun, tasty, high-calorie food at hand. I didn’t cook any of it, and we shared everything. Stuffed mushrooms, fried mozzarella, spinach artichoke dip–we were all reaching over one another to taste everything, sharing dips, passing baskets and chattering away about unimportant, nonserious topics. We were all happy.
We were together away from a chronically messy house, distracting technology, and work.
After dinner, we hit Bed, Bath & Beyond. We spent at least 10 minutes in the coffee making appliance department where I was looking for a stainless steel carafe (they had one kind only — ONE). I bought some replacement stoppers for my wine keeper system, got a wonderful massage in one of their display chairs, and enjoyed time with my sons.
Next, we walked all the way to the other end of the mall to check out what fun stuff FYE had in stock.
At my 23-year-old’s recommendation, I picked up Kubo and the Two Strings. Wow, what a wonderful movie!
We looked at all of the licensed merchandise, discussing which TV shows, games and movies were successes and which were failures.
Blu-ray in hand, we left the store.
And suddenly, everyone was exhausted. We are a family of introverts. Four stores, two in the mall, and over an hour at a loud restaurant had worn us out. We headed home.
Several times during the evening, I thought to myself that this might be the last time I go Christmas shopping with these three sons. My two oldest sons and daughter weren’t there because they have very busy lives and two of them live 1,800 miles away.
I enjoyed that evening while it happened and will treasure the memory the rest of my life.
Spending time with my grown kids is definitely one of my favorite things.