I got a lead on free Slurpees®, and it was from my mother; aka, Grandma.
The Slurpee-run is usually Dad’s job, thereby fostering male-bonding and all that. I’m just not a Slurpee kinda gal. But to shake things up a bit from the usual Monday-to-Friday night grind of dinner, errands, driving kids hither-to, laundry and social graces lectures, I hustled my two young lads out the door after dinner on Monday, July 11, 2011.
It was, after all, summer vacation. And more importantly - the 84th anniversary of the good old stand-by convenience store, 7-Eleven®. Free Slurpees for all!
I kept our destination a mystery, just to build the excitement. I need to keep those yearlings of mine on their toes, you know. But my secretive coyness is better than I thought. The begging and pleading to know where we were going, coupled with their heightened excitement, had me wondering if they thought we were headed to Disneyland. I slouched in the driver’s seat as shame and guilt of my shortcomings as a mother set in. Knowing that all we were doing was getting Slurpees, and no neck-breaking rides or visits with Mickey Mouse were in the near future, I told them.
Not wanting to take all the glory for this wondrous ‘free stuff’ indulgence – for a free Slurpee, no less - the credit went to Grandma for this insider information.
Silence filled the car momentarily; the wheels spun in their pre-teen/teenage heads. Not only did the change in pace from the usual weeknight routine upset their sugar-addicted equilibrium, but the fact that Grandma knew…about FREE Slurpees….before THEY did….????
And how on earth did SHE, of all people, know of something so cool, trendy, and utterly childish? She who admits she has never in her life had a Slurpee?
She is as much as a mystery to them as they are to her. Living three hours apart, separated by water, makes family bonding a challenge. With her growing up in a family of mostly women, and then having three daughters herself, she struggles to understand the world of boys. The boys don’t shop at Holt Renfrew, and she has likely never built a Lego structure in her life.
But for one moment in time, they had a bond.
Not only did she lead them to sugar nirvana, but she found a way to connect with them; if only for a moment, from afar.
The car-ride home was filled with slurping their Slurpees and calling Grandma to thank her for the lead on the free sugar. Exemplary manners are expected by me at all times. Yes, I was driving somewhere to feed them sugar, but the unexpected trip gave us time together away from TV and anything electronic. While they peppered me with questions about 7-Eleven back ‘when I was a kid’ - if I hung out there, were there arcade games – my own continual quest to fit into their male world was satisfied. Yes, Slurpees aren’t only for boys. But in my house, especially given that I am the non-Slurpee-holic, I am the minority.
But much more was gained than a pair of blue tongues. It was a moment - out of the ordinary, the rush and routine - for me, my mom and my boys to connect.
Oh Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven®.