Over the past six months or so, I’ve started a new “tradition” with the niece and the ‘phew. I take them to Sunday brunch when I’m in town visiting. I usually let them pick the place, unless I’m in the mood for something specific. Then I try to sway them, but I always tend to lose that argument. Their favorites are Dunkin Donuts, Panera and Bob Evans. They’re little donut fiends, but I’m not really into fried dough, so I’m trying to expand their selection a bit. The ‘phew likes the pumpkin muffins at Panera. “Aunt Laura, I’m kind of a huge fan of this!”
This whole brunch thing is a fairly enormous step for me. I’d never gone anywhere alone with them before last spring when they were almost five and seven. For seven years, I’d always had one or both of their parents along, so I wasn’t responsible for… anything. Suddenly, I’m responsible for EVERYTHING for those two hours while we brunch. The first couple of times caused heart palpitations. It’s not that they’re bad kids; they’re actually pretty great and generally well behaved. It’s just that the responsibility for two lives is frightening. What if something goes wrong? Anything could go wrong!
My ‘phew is old enough now to go into the bathroom on his own. For obvious reasons, I can’t accompany him in to the men’s room. But letting him go into the restroom all by himself the first time that he was with me was terrifying. There might have been any number of problems in there. There have been reports of crocodiles in toilets, you know.
Panic aside, I have a fun time with the kids. Though I have yet to finish my food without help from at least one of them. My ‘phew gobbles up his food, announces he’s stuffed full (“Aunt Laura, I cannot eat another bite!”) and then asks me for the last half of my waffle less than two minutes later. My sister keeps telling me that I can say no. But she’s wrong. I can’t say no. I try sometimes, but it always ends in yes.