It’s easy enough to say to someone, “We really should get together one of these days and have dinner!” It’s even easier to let that be the extent of it, and not actually plan anything.
The last time we spent an evening with Howard and Sarah, Aaron’s church bike camp counselors from the days of yore, it was long before the time of Connor. Surprisingly, I managed not to blog about it, so I’m not sure precisely when it was. Maybe 2010? We shared dinner with them, played Scrabble and Chronology, and discovered that Howard’s vegetarianism included gelatin when he passed on the Weight Watchers key lime pie we brought for dessert.
That visit ended with the conversation turning to our atheism while Howard was out of the room (Sarah: “So, where do you go to church now?” Us: “Um…”) We worried that we had somehow tarnished the wonderful visit we’d been enjoying, but we really only confounded Sarah with the idea that two people could deconvert from something that was so central to her own life.
Since then, we’ve exchanged Christmas cards every year — ours with photos of our now-expanded family, theirs with the annual update letter. This year, along with their card and letter, we got a note to please call them and let them know when would be a good time for us to come over for dinner so they could meet Connor.
Yesterday was when it finally happened.
We had an absolutely fantastic evening. Connor was well-behaved and only a little impatient, dinner was delicious — polenta with a beef stew and freshly shaved parmesan, along with a salad I prepared — and with a couple extra adults and different kid toys around (hooray for grandkids!), Aaron and I got to have a few minutes to tag-team with Connor-wrangling and actually sit down to enjoy their company in turns.
Howard kicked off our after-dinner conversation time by reading to Connor, which Connor seemed to enjoy. Howard chose a book I’d never heard of before, entitled The Bog Baby.
We also got to be all grown up and have some coffee before dessert, and share stories of funny turns of phrase that kids say, and listen to AM radio from a few states away. Connor had fun playing their upright piano and going up and down their stairs (counting all the way).
We didn’t get home until well after Connor’s bedtime, and Connor got to bed 90 minutes late… but it was definitely worth the ever-so-slight inconvenience.
And, like Sarah said: next time, we’ll play a game.