I don’t like to brag, but we went to McDonald’s for supper Sunday night.
Carey and I watched the grandkids (now three, four, and five years old) and I was looking for one last fun thing before taking them back. I think I’ve only eaten at McDonald’s five or six times in the last ten years. It’s been almost 20 years since I bought a Happy Meal. But I had a plan.
We would walk in, Carey would take the kids to the playground, I would order everyone’s food while the kids played, I would bring the food to the table, we would eat, then the kids would go back to the playground until it was time to take them home. What could go wrong?
The food was easy – cheeseburger Happy Meals. They had fun on the playground, I made it to the table with the food, we corralled the kids fairly quickly and started eating.
Japeth, the oldest, and wise in the ways of the world, lifted the top half of his bun to look at it. There was ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onions. He put the lid back on the burger as if it were on fire and said, “I’m not eating that. There’s stuff on it.”
Carey looked at me and said, “They didn’t give him a plain burger.”
I think she could tell – I didn’t order a plain burger. Carey told me if I take it back to the counter, they would swap it out. I looked at the other two kids’ burgers and raised my eyebrows, questioning. Carey said, “They’ll be fine. They haven’t even noticed.”
The manager was very kind to easily give me another, this one plain, burger at no charge. I think she could tell I was new to this grandfather thing.
Back at the table, the other kids saw what I brought, and needed plain burgers also. This time I paid. As soon as I got back to the table, Isaac (four) needed to go potty. There he marveled that the urinals were low enough for him to use. When we got back to the table, Japeth had finished eating and was ready to go back to the playground. When Japeth gets up from the table, the other two are right behind him.
I looked at Carey and asked her whose idea this was, anyway? I thanked her for not telling me that everything I say is stupid. She laughed and snuggled closer to me. After a few minutes of watching the kids play, she asked if I was cold. I smiled and told her, “No. I’ve been running back & forth to the counter.”
I went to get drink refills and as I was coming back, I overheard another dad telling his son he didn’t want to eat in the playground room – it was too loud. I realized each of the little bumps in this trip had tried to push their way under my skin. I mean, who puts onions on a kid’s hamburger?
And the toys in the Happy Meals? Each of the boys got a Power Ranger. Wasn’t that the toy in the last Happy Meal I bought? Lilly’s toy was a cute monkey desk calendar. Come on Ronald, what three year old kid has a desk or cares what day it is, much less the month?
But the kids had the best time. They loved their meals and they loved playing, eating, playing, eating. They were proud to show their Mom and Dad not only their toys, but the boxes they (and the food) came in.
And Carey and I had a great time. We laughed at each bump and enjoyed the kids’ enjoyment of our time together. We thanked God for the time we get to spend with the grandkids and thanked Him again for putting us together.
In Ira Milligan’s book “Understanding the Dreams You Dream,” play is said to often represent worship. I believe Sunday at McDonald’s was another of our many great worship times together.
You can’t remove all the need in the world today but there are lots of ways you can help. Ask God who deserves a break today.