Thursday, March 27, 2014

Birthdays and Opera Gloves

Last weekend was a big deal in the Lewis house.  Handsome Hero turned 34 and Ella turned 7.  We have been so crazy busy that I didn't have an opportunity to write a sappy, wonderful, heart-felt blog note for my Handsome Hero, or a tear-inducing post to my only little-no-longer girl who is not allowed to keep growing but does so anyway. 

I am writing a post about my love, my Handsome Hero, that I will post next week if time allows, but for now I will tell you a little story about my Ella.  My sweet, bossy, funny, all elbows, wanted-to-be-a-mermaid-when-she-grew-up-until-she-learned-she-had-to-be-a-human, still-can't-say-yellow{lellow}-or-animal {aminal}, still-believes-in-the-tooth-fairy, Ella.

I love her.  She's my only girl.  I want her to stay little always, but she has that natural desire to be grown up.  Why do we all want to be older until we want to be younger? 

Last week we went out for pizza.  It was kids-eat-free night at Brixx, a local pizza joint with really good food.  Ella asked if she could wear gloves.  I said she could.  She came out of her room wearing elbow length opera gloves with fingers at least an inch too long.  She asked if she could wear a hat.  I said she could.  She disappeared again and returned with a very fancy hat indeed.  All this over a school dress and leggings.  Jack took one look at her, ran into his room, and came back out wearing his winter mittens.  No one gets ahead of Jack.  Handsome Hero was wearing shorts and sandals, just so you have a vision of how cohesive we were.

When we got to the restaurant, Ella spent a few moments adjusting and admiring herself in the backseat, and then alighted from the van.  There's no other word to describe it.  We paraded into the restaurant, Ella taking the lead.  As the girl at the front led us to our booth, Ella began to wave a la Queen Elizabeth to all the customers on the way to our table.

But here's the thing.  No one noticed her.  No one so much as looked up from their thin crust.  Not to be deterred, she called out to me loudly over her shoulder and in her best imitation of a British accent, "Mothah!  Isn't this place LOOOOOVELEEEEEEEEEEEEE?!"  Do you have any idea how hard it was to keep it together?

Still, no one looked up. Maybe it was the loud music.  Maybe the sauce was just too good.  It was a little sad to watch, because she had taken such effort to be seen.  Would just one person please tell her how much they like her hat?  She will totally be your BFF.

When the waiter came to our table, he was all business.  He had no time for little girls in opera gloves and fancy hats.  He had no time for British accents.  He just didn't see her, even when she rested her chin on her folded hands, elbows on the table, and smiled like she was posing for an 80's glamour shot.  Not a glance

Now, you and I know that this is life.  Sometimes we get noticed for things we wish we didn't.  Sometimes no one pays attention when we're desperate for recognition.  Ella doesn't know this yet, but experiences like this will teach her.  She didn't seem to be bothered by the lack of attention.  It just made her more determined.  I think that that will be a good trait as she gets older and works toward goals, but it was hard to see her try so hard without results.

She decided to go to the bathroom.  I also needed to go, so we both got out of the booth, but this was not her plan.  "Mom, could you walk behind me, please?"

Prance, prance, prance.  Wave, wave, wave.  Hair flip.  Hair flip.

Still no attention.  One thing I'll say for my Ella. She is persistent.

We settled into our meal, but at the end, she reached into her purse {did I mention she brought a velvet clutch?} and told Handsome Hero that she would really like to pay.  She had brought her debit card {it came in a purse set when she was a toddler and is about 1/4 inch thick}.  He told her that she could pay for the kids and he would pay for the grown-ups.  This was pretty safe since it was kids-eat-free night.  Since our waiter was clearly not going to enter into this charade, I led her to the front desk.  There was another man there who immediately complimented Ella on her beautiful outfit.  While she preened, I explained that she was there to pay for her meal, and he understood where I was going without any prompting.  She held out her card and he took it, did a very convincing job of swiping it, printed out a receipt, and handed her a crayon to sign her name on the dotted line.

How does something so small make me want to cry?

I said, "You must have children."  He smiled.

 "Actually, I have a little girl."

To the man at Brixx, on the highly unlikely chance that you are one of the tens of people who read this blog, I thank you.  Thank you for being so understanding with a little girl who has such a desire to be grown up.  You made that little girl's day.  And her mother's.

And happy birthday, little one.  May your life always have fancy hats and opera gloves, but when it doesn't, your dad and I are here to pick you up.  I love you.

 Pictures taken last summer at the beach.

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