The other night I took my son to dinner. He was excited because he had a $20 gift card and he was going to pay. We stood and looked at the menu and he said we should get whatever we wanted, his treat. He ended-up getting two corn dogs with his kids meal. He handed his gift card to the cashier and when the young man ran it through…one dollar came off the total.
Sam’s brows furrowed and he snapped his head in my direction. I could see in his eyes the surprise, confusion, embarrassment and anger. I probably didn’t hide those feeling especially well myself, but jokingly said, “I guess it’s actually dad’s treat tonight.”
We tried to figure out what happened, when he’d actually already used it, but it was no use. And it was fine. “It happens,” I told him. We ate our dinner and had a nice time, just the two of us.
Today I was remembering when we used to go out as a family with my dad and step-mom. I was always prepared to pay, but was rarely ever afforded the opportunity. It got to the point where I’d do the dance of saying, “What? Really? C’mon, dad…you don’t have to pay for us…” all the while knowing full well that he wasn’t going to let me. One time he grabbed my card as I was handing it to the cashier and tossed it behind us. He was stubborn like that. And generous.
That’s what I’m remembering about my dad today. He was generous. He took care of everybody around him. And today I’m inspired to be more like him. To provide for my son, for my family, without a second thought. That my default reaction would be to say, “Oh, don’t spend that on me, Sam. Save it for a fun night with your friends!” To be stubbornly generous, like my dad was.
Mostly, though, I wish he was here to thwart my attempt to pay for dinner.
I’d point out the window and yell, “Dad! Look!” and hand the cashier my card.
I’m sure my dad would act mad, but I know he’d be proud inside.
Miss you, dad.