Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday at Dunn Brothers

Every now and then Lydia and I stop at Dunn Brothers on our way home. She loves their hot chocolate as her "sweet of the day" and I am a sucker for their white mochas. (I also am a sucker for their M&M cookies.) My favorite thing about Dunn Bros. is that several of their south Minneapolis locations have kids' play areas and Lydia feels welcome and comfortable; she started cheering today when we pulled up in front of the storefront.

Today the store was unusually packed with adolescents. I mean PACKED. There were at least fifteen teenagers hanging out, some doing homework, some just spending time together, most drinking sugary, frozen, blended drinks despite the snow on the ground outside. I was instantly thrown back to my junior high and high school days when I along with groups of girlfriends and the occasional boyfriend would sit at Kodiak Coffee in Forest Lake, drinking Flakes and "Beary Blasters" while munching on sugar cookies, scones, and really amazing rice krispie bars. I remember those days so vividly, and watching the teens at Dunn Bros. evoked a strange combination of "Wow, they look so young," and "Am I really this old?" In some ways, that was eons ago--twelve different places of resident, four institutes of higher learning, two "grown-up" jobs, one wedding, one three-year-old, and one baby-in-utero. In other ways, though, it feels so close.

I was torn out of my personal nostalgia, when Lydia said, "Mommy, I'm going to the bathroom." I started to get up to accompany her, and she put up a hand and said, "No." She preceded to go to the bathroom alone, wash her hands (yes, I checked), and return to the play area, all on her own. I held back tears as I realized how quickly she is growing and gaining independence and that she is closer in age to most of the teens in the coffee shop than I am. While, truth be told, I relished the few minutes of alone time at the coffee shop while Lydia was in the bathroom, the cold, hard, proof that times are a-changing made me simultaneously proud and sad.

The days are long but the months and years are short. Wow.

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