Mexican food means family to Ella

Queso dip smeared by three year old Ella over the table top in our booth as she tried to helpfully clean the double digit droplets of white cheese on the space in front of her, bright red contents of one small salsa bowl completely dumped on the table by 14 month old Molly when she reached for water on the table from her booster seat pulled next to us – these were two of our more spectacular messes during one meal at our favorite Mexican restaurant this week. Eating out any meal with our granddaughters and their parents is always an adventure, but regular visits to Mexican restaurants bring their own special perils that require oversized tipping to our wait staff when we leave.

Pretty, Drew and I took too long to finish our food to suit Ella this week, and she slipped out of the booth under the table to speed everyone along by standing next to Molly’s booster chair, feeding mushy refried beans on a fork to Molly who was overjoyed at the attention from her Big Sis as well as the attention from smiling waitresses that squeezed past the girls in the narrow aisle between booths. I was so focused on the precarious food delivery via fork from Ella to Molly I didn’t notice the middle-aged couple sipping margaritas minding their own business in the booth across the aisle from us until I heard Ella’s quiet attempt to be polite.

“We’re a family,” she spoke to the surprised couple that turned toward her little girl voice. “This is my Naynay, that’s my Nana, he’s my daddy, and this is my baby sister Molly. My name is Ella.” She pointed to each of us as she introduced us with the names she knew, finishing by identifying herself. Drew and Pretty were talking about the Final Four, the restaurant was slammed, noisy, so I was the only member of Ella’s family that heard her announcement. I gave Ella a little hug, smiled at the couple who were the intended audience of her unsolicited conversation. The woman smiled briefly but then returned to her margarita.

Molly wasn’t happy with this interruption in her food supply chain so she grabbed Ella’s hair and pulled it as hard as she could which prompted shrieks from Ella and quick action from Drew who lifted Molly from the booster while freeing Ella’s hair at the same time. Daddy to the rescue. Nana slid from the booth to help take the commotion outside.

Dinner was over. Naynay asked for the check.

Ella (l.) and Molly have queso in their DNA

I tried to describe the incident to Pretty on the way home in the grannymobile that night – the joy I felt when I heard Ella’s understanding of what family meant to her, the confidence our little granddaughter had to share her family with others even though their response had been less than encouraging. It was a memory maker for me.

Pretty agreed, smiled and asked how much I had tipped the waitress.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in family life, Humor, Life, Personal, Random, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Mexican food means family to Ella

  1. Wayside Artist says:

    The little child shall lead them into a wider understanding of family and love. Some salsa mixed into queso is our beautiful future.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heather Hartt says:

    Family is love. Period.

    We also have queso loving granddaughters. Claire has been dubbed the queso queen of the family.
    Much love to you and Theresa.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Can just imagine the rather raucous time you all had! A lovely description of your family.

    Liked by 1 person

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