We’re sitting at an old Chinese restaurant. It’s so dilapidated, the chime no longer works at the front door. I look at you, your bright eyes smiling back at me because you’ve been waiting weeks for this date out with Mama. Your chubby hands grip the water glass in front of you, and your darling sandaled shoes kick rhythmically under the table.
“We don’t have much money,” I say, “so we’re gonna share a cup of soup.”
Your eyes light with excitement because you don’t worry about money; you’re a seven-year-old who’s ready for adventure.
“We’d like a cup of egg-drop soup,” I tell the young waitress. “That’s all.”
“We’re going to share it!” you squeal, eager to spill our secret.
The waitress studies us, doesn’t write anything in her notebook, and walks away.
As we wait for our soup, we talk about the beautiful stringy lights, the slippery red seats, and the soft music playing around us. I’m totally in the moment then, so part of that place even the smallest details are committed to memory.
“Mama, you’re the best,” you say.
The waitress arrives then, holding an enormous bowl of soup and two little cups to go with it. She sets it down with such kindness. “One small cup of soup.”
I know it’s not their “small” size, and I’m taken aback. You on the other hand think it’s amazing. You don’t even notice the waitress has walked away because your eyes are glued to the huge bowl of egg-drop soup—your favorite. “She’s so nice, Mama! Look what she did—she made it big this time.” You can hardly stop talking, even to drink your water or eat your soup. You tell me about friends, math, books, life…. After a moment you stare at your water flabbergasted, “You know, this is the best water ever! This is the best day ever.”
I realize the waitress sits in the corner; she's listening to ever word as she’s rolling silverware.
We pay the check, before the waitress pulls me aside. “You are both so grateful—you’ve taught me something today. Even the simplest things, can be the best ever if it’s with someone you love.”
I walk out, a bit changed. I’m not quite sure why it was so magical, but it was. Sometimes simple truths are that way.
“That was the best date ever,” you say.
I nod. “Yes, it was. And it hardly cost anything.” I realize then, as I gaze down at your sparkling blue eyes, all you’d really wanted…was time.
We got some devastating news last week, something I can’t write about. And the point is, some things are truly too sad to express. As I think about an uncertain future, or how much the hearts of my children are hurting—and how much mine is hurting too—I keep remembering the waitress at the Chinese restaurant. “Even the simplest things, can be the best ever if it’s with someone you love.” Please cherish those who matter most to you. Why not take a moment today to do something nice for them; I bet it would make their day, the best ever. Sometimes all people want is time….