Will, Katie, and I found ourselves in the neighborhood, so we popped inside Planet Sub, one of our favorite sub shops. We placed our order and sat at a booth to color while we waited for our dinner. I solved a maze by doing it backward and when I bragged about my feat Katie said that you are not supposed to do it backwards. I said nuh-uh and flipped the sheet over to color a whale grey with orange polka dots.
The woman who took our order brought our food to the table. We thanked her. She smiled and nodded her head. She turned around to head back to the counter without picking up the six of clubs, the card she had given us when we paid and got our receipt. Instead of asking for names, they hand you a card from a deck and then that particular card is linked to your specific order. I set the card aside and we ate our meal heartily. Delicious. Katie and Will split a meatball sub. I had a tempeh reuben. We split some broccoli cheese soup. Yum.
We finished eating and began to clean up after ourselves, Will very neatly stacking our trash on the plastic tray and carrying it to the trash can. I picked up the six of clubs and asked Katie if she wanted to take it to the counter and hand it to the employee while I stood back at the table and watched.
"Sure!" she said with sweet eagerness. She's usually shy around adults she doesn't know, a side-effect of all the stranger danger talk she's heard. Which is good. I don't want her to approach strangers unless one of her caretakers is watching her. In some ways she's growing up so fast. She seems so mature. But she's only six. She still needs guidance.
I stood back and watched. Katie walked in a straight line up to the counter, paused for a moment, then approached the woman, who smiled brightly and said something I couldn't hear. Katie nodded her head as if she were replying, but I couldn't hear it. She turned around, beaming, and walked briskly back to me.
"Thanks, Punk," I said, patting her back.
"Mom," Katie said out of the side of her mouth in a quiet voice, "I think she thought I was a dwarf grownup."
"Oh yeah?" I smiled so big it felt like my cheeks were cracking. I was trying so hard not to laugh.
Katie was serious. I could tell she felt so big, pretending she's a grownup of short stature, out in the world, doing normal, grownup things.