From the beginning, one of the things my husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed is dining out. Pizza pubs, five star, hole in the wall… We love it all. We are self proclaimed foodies, with appetites to boot. Being the soul-mates we are, we always seem to have shared cravings and often have the exact same restaurants on our mind come Friday night.
Friday night. It’s the event that marks that fleeting 2 days of freedom. The green light on being able to choose whatever the fuck you want to do until Monday morning. Friday night is one of our favorites, right up there with Sunday brunch.
So it’s no surprise that despite the trauma of dining out with a toddler, we have persisted in our traditions and pleasures. My purse is packed with hot wheels, toy airplanes, crackers, crayons and the secret weapon: Netflix. Daddy and mommy takes turns away from the table, satiating the toddler’s desire to roam and explore while the other parent devours their steak dinner in record time. There is no lingering conversation, no awkward silence… cocktails aren’t a treat, they are a necessity. As are the reassuring smiles of understanding strangers.
But then there are those outings where the toddler is an absolute joy. Where mommy has time for 2 maitais instead of 1. Where we order dessert. Where we drive off saying “that was nice.”
But most times we wonder why we continue to torture ourselves and our children attempting family nights out. I mean, on one hand: how will they learn to behave in a restaurant if they never go out to one? But on the other hand, breaking a sweat keeping your toddler in check while out and about defeats the purpose.
Recently, we enjoyed an extra special failed family night. Twenty minutes into our fancy Christmas Eve dinner we asked for the bill, grabbed a doggy bag and piled into the car.
Just down the road, we found ourselves at a park. No playground, just grassy hills overlooking all of beautiful Maui. The kids were ecstatic with room to run and more importantly, no rules.
The sun slipping down, we sat together and watched the magic show as the kids ended the day as they should. Happy. I suppose if my child would have let me eat more than croutons I would have missed this awesome moment.
I have a hard time admitting that I’ve given anything up having kids. But maybe that’s an impossible denial. So what? I don’t get to enjoy long lingering conversation or specialty dishes. I instead get to enjoy the part of raising children that is indescribable. We have a fresh motivation to seek new adventures and ways tone corporate our love for our children and being together and ofcourse, food.
And not to mention, our newfound pursuit of date nights. These are extra special now. A rareity and always a gem.