I have been doing The Senior Shuffle for a year now and there have been many wonderful moments. I have spent more time with my parents in the last 12 months than I have in the last 12 years. I am grateful for the meals we share these days. As a daughter, and as a mom of teens, I want to communicate well with both generations--with love, honor, courage, and humor. I discovered that my sons have quite a few things in common with my dad, such as:
- The highest cost of car insurance.
- A need for reminders.
- A laid-back attitude about house cleaning.
- A love for cake, cookies, and doughnuts with lots of icing.
- An addiction to cable TV.
- An unrealistic conviction of full independence.
- A craving for McDonalds.
There are 7 decades between my dad and my sons. Yes, the internet and cell phones are big differences, but many things are the same. Like an interest in fast cars, football and jokes. A love for the Golden Arches. Each of my boys can polish off 2 McDoubles and some fries as a snack before dinner.
Just the other day, my dad and his bride of 63 years, ordered a McDouble and shared some small fries and a coke. We sat at a colorful table and talked. My dad said he remembered when the first McDonalds opened in Des Plaines. I reminded my dad that he was a trooper when he picked me up at 1:00 am after I cleaned up and closed the McDonalds in Lake Geneva, WI on weekends. I was 16.
This is not the first time I've taken my parents to McDonalds. It could be the 10th. I try not to think of the sodium content affecting my dad’s 2-stent heart or my mom’s high blood pressure. Sometimes I wonder if my parents will have a heart attack as they eat their fries. Then I look around and see a lot of other silver-haired seniors in the restaurant, so I think it is ok.
A few times during our meal, my mom leans over to my dad, smiles, and says, "wow, isn't this good?" I smile inside and think yes, it is. Watching my parents enjoy a McDouble as much as their grandsons is not only a treat for them, but a treat for me.