I don’t get to go out to dinner too much these days, but the other night I made a special effort.
I’ve got my regular crew – the three boys: L who is 4 and who is ‘on the spectrum’, N who is 20 months and J who is 4 months. But for the last couple of days I have also been caring for W, a 7 year old boy who has come from a very remote community to attend his annual medical appointments at the hospital where he has a range of issues monitored, primarily his hearing.
W stayed with me last year also, so it has been nice to have him with us again. I thought it would be a fun experience for him to go out to dinner at a family restaurant. Something that doesn’t exist where he comes from. So I called up my parents and asked them to come along too.
We were a motley crew of 7 aged from 4 months to 84 years. There was quite a range of skin colour too, from L’s beautiful pale complexion and red hair, to W’s black as black. And of course there was the range of abilities. I know that it’s my ‘normal’ having to keep L close to help him manage in new situations, helping him to regulate himself and control his volume (he’s going through a real noisemaking phase).
W’s hearing impairment means that he needs to wear a hearing aid and even then it can be difficult for him to understand. But what a kid! He’s so social and really a fabulous communicator.
For many years one of my ‘truisms’ has been that – timing is EVERYTHING. As a musician this has always been especially true for me, but in life there is nothing better than good timing and this certainly applied tonight.
We got up to the restaurant at about 6pm and stayed for less than an hour. There was only one other family there when we arrived which meant our food arrived super fast (yay!) The kids really had a lovely time, all of us did.
There was pizza, pasta, drinks and ice-cream.
I had made sure they had all had their bath before we left so that when we got home, all they had to do was clean teeth, get into their pyjamas and drift off to sleep after a big day.
And that’s what happened.