You Have a Lovely Family

EVERYONE needs to get EVERYTHING OFF of this TABLE! It was an odd thing for me to say, since the seven of us were at Vinny’s Italian restaurant to eat dinner, something that usually requires things on a table.

We were having dinner with my folks for Father’s Day. Buttercup was on my lap doing her Mr. Fantastic impersonation, with elastic arms growing longer by the minute, reaching for every knife, fork, napkin, bread plate and glass of wine within miles.

Sparkles was asking to go to the bathroom more than was possibly necessary.

Noel was texting her friends, making plans for a movie that started in 30 minutes. (Technically this one was my fault, but that is a longer story. )

Do you ever greet your waitress, when out to dinner at a sit-down restaurant with kids, saying, “Hello. We would like to order right away and can you bring the check, please?”

What are your restaurant boundaries? I don’t want a military style dinner with obedient children that don’t know how to have fun, but I don’t want to terrorize the restaurant with running and screaming crazy kids who don’t know how to sit down either. I imagine that learning to sit down and eat a meal is one of the first lessons in focusing and being patient, a lesson that will lay the ground work for being successful in the rest of life. I believe that to be true at the same time I believe that that is a lot of pressure for a single dinner when the little ones are 1 and 3.

Then, after we had eaten, more or less, and we were leaving the restaurant as quickly as possible, a woman walked past us and said, “You have a lovely family.”

I turned to look at her, thinking she might be kidding, that she was judging me, but she wasn’t. I could see it in her face, she was a Mom and she had been there. I felt like she gave me a super sweet hug that let the tension escape from my body, making me smile and cry a little at the same time.

I wish I could have said “Thank You” and given her a real hug back, but the moment passed quickly. I’ll send her good wishes across the universe. I hope they find her, where ever she is.

6 Responses

  1. Jenna

    You DO have a lovely family. More than lovely. I’m happy you had that moment with that kind woman. Those instances of communion are pretty amazing.

  2. Kellena

    I second Jenna’s sentiments. You do have a lovely family.

    Carol Reply:

    Ah, thanks Kellena and Jenna!

  3. Amy

    I know that struggle to find a balance between strictness and laxness. I’ve taught my kids that there are “run-and-play” restaurants and “sit-still-and-be-quiet” restaurants. At 4 and 6 they’ve finally gotten to the point that they can behave appropriately at the latter… most of the time. 🙂

  4. Our compromise is that one of us will take walks with the girls before the food comes or after they are finished eating, but they sit at the table when the food arrives, until they are done. It can be an adventure in-between, though, and it isn’t always pretty. I think the wait staff at El Chile, our favorite place to go when the day has been to nuts already, might have wanted posters of us in the kitchen.

  5. Nat

    hahaha remember during the hurricane when we ALL went out to dinner?
    Somewhere between sophia knocking over great grandmas coffee and abbey screaming and maddie demanding the RED crayon and me climbing under the table because it was the only way to get out to the car to get alyssa a jacket Kyle leaned over to Leicia and said, “we’re THAT family”