We have family members who have really, REALLY nice things. I don't mention this to brag, I mention it to give you a hint of the mild terror that filled this mamma's heart when we were invited to a fancy-schmancy dinner party at their beautiful home on Christmas Day.
Terror? You may ask. And my reply is that yes, terror is, without a doubt, the correct word. I have ten and seven year old sons after all. I wasn't worried about my daughter. She tends to be quiet around adults she doesn't know well. She picks up on social cues and is observant. She is picture-perfect when it counts -- and then goes all crazy along with her brothers later in the evening when we get home. I'm just sayin'.
We are paper plate and paper napkin kind of people. We sop up the last vestiges of gravy off of our plates with a bit of dinner roll. We pick out the veggies we don't like in the salad before we put it on our plates kind of people. We don't bother with table cloths because they'd just get incredibly stained and who needs the extra work? kind of people. At least one family member (not The Calm One, BTW -- another family member) is guilty of licking his ice cream bowl in front of company on a regular basis.
We are THAT kind of people.
So, to say that I was a teeny bit nervous when we arrived is putting it mildly. I may have said a prayer or two than no one dropped a goblet or picked their noses at the table. I'm just sayin'.
When the other guests were at the buffet, I tried to quietly point out which fork to use when and instruct them on the proper cloth napkin placement to my wide-eyed children. They may have been more wide-eyed at the exciting prospect of drinking Dr. Pepper so late in the evening, than worried about table settings, however.
One can never be completely sure when it comes to children.
The chickadees picked up each hint and eyebrow raise beautifully. I was incredibly impressed. And relieved. Sooooooo relieved! I didn't have to use my napkin to mop my forehead once the whole meal.
During dinner something else happened. I fell in love with my sons all over again. They were funny and sweet and entertaining in their conversation. They had cute anecdotes and delightful banter.
No potty talk. No making fun of their sister. No complaining about the grown-up food.
And the best part? No anatomy parts pointed out or referred to. Hallelujah! That is quite a show of self-control for boys their age. At least for the Jubilant sons.
When I relayed the evening to my mom over the phone that night, she asked the very question I had on my mind: "Who were those boys and what did they do with YOURS?"
My reply? "I have no idea, but it must have something to do with traveling. As soon as we got in the car to go home, BOOM! My sons were back."
Ah, well. I guess it's too much to expect young boys to behave so swimmingly 24/7. After all, during a one hour trip, funny sounding words need to be said over and over again. A sister's hair needs to be yanked at least once. And those bodily functions? Well, evidently, they must be referred to in non-verbal ways when they work so well in such a confined space.
It's okay. The charming and delightful is there. Somewhere deep down. Even if we only see it on rare occasions.
Counting it all boyish joy,