Out is the magic word. One learns not to utter it until plans, supplies, and shoes are in place. Otherwise, Hannah's limited patience is sorely tested.
Even on a relaxed daughter-dad Sunday, this rule still applies. This morning, Hannah and I both took it slowly. We enjoyed some music together, I phoned my brother, and I prepared Hannah's travel bag: diapers, clothes, g-tube/food supplies, and her DVD player.
Typically, we end up at the mall. Hannah enjoys the architecture, particularly the high ceilings and skylights. She likes the rush of people walking around, and she sometimes greets several with a passing, "Hi." Generally, I can come up with reasons to shop (not too hard). Plus, this time of year, rain is the rule, and indoors with Hannah are much less wet.
Still, we're trying to be frugal much like everyone else, and today I wondered at the repetition. It must get boring for her, just going to the mall, and how would I know? How would Hannah communicate that to me beyond a general tantrum?
After we got in the car, I changed plans. Not the mall today. Today we were headed for our local Panera.
We arrived a few minutes later. As I popped Hannah out of the car and into her wheelchair, I watched her stare at me, waiting.
"We're doing something different today," I said. I grabbed her DVD bag. "We're going to have an early soup lunch together."
We rolled inside. Hannah was surprisingly patient while I ordered. She looked around the countertop at the baked breads and pastries. While I ordered us up some french onion soup and a coffee (that would be for me and me alone), she craned her neck to see the people lining up behind us.
"Extra spoons, please," I asked the gentleman ringing us up. He walked back to the kitchen to pass along the request as we found our seats.
We had a nice window seat looking out over a drizzle coated patio and the main street. We were experiencing what we in the Pacific Northwest call a "sunbreak," so Hannah and I could look out at a nice patch of light blue sky.
I broke out the DVD player: the necessary equipment when we sit down to eat. I queued up a music DVD (stuff I taped off Noggin a year or two back), and I picked up our soup. Together, Hannah and I enjoyed the view, the music (quietly), and our french onion soup. I raised the spoon to her mouth for the first few tastes. She quickly grabbed the spoon from me and popped it back into her mouth.
And there we sat, enjoying our soup, our sunbreak, our music, and a late, lazy Sunday morning together somewhere other than the mall.