To the lovely couple sitting next to us at Flavor tonight who were clearly on their first date, I have one thing to say: May we serve as a lesson to you.
After about 4 changes of plans for tonight, we ended up going out to dinner WITH the kids.
We were supposed to be in Sausalito, overlooking the bay, catching up with old friends. Laughing. Clinking glasses.
All was well and good until we had to wait for our food - Something the kids are not used to. (And if anyone has seen them, they know this is true.)
Tessa started to climb out of her high chair, shouting, "Down! Down! Get down!" and Chloe laid in the booth crying that she'd lost her band aid and her ankle (which is actually her knuckle) hurt "weally WEALLY BAD and it's bweeding SO MUCH!" (In actuality this was a very small scrape on her big toe that had happened hours ago and barely bled at the time, but somehow became her entire focus of the day.)
I asked Justin to take Tessa ouside while we waited and walk her around so she didn't ruin the dinner of all those who dined around us.
While he did this, I consoled a distraught Chloe and told her we would dress her foot wound as soon as we were done eating.
The waiter brought crayons.
She was happy again.
I believe my children may be bi-polar.
As soon as the food did come, Chloe - Very recently potty trained - told me she needed to go - ALSO "Weally weally bad."
I took her in and you would have thought it was Disneyland with how excited she was.
She took one look at the 15 varying rolls of toilet paper on the wall, sitting on the hand rail, and scattered all around the floor and shouted out, "Oh Mommy! I wuv this place! Look at all the toilet paper you have to choose from!"
After all, it IS all about choices.
When I returned to the table, Tessa had turned her cup into an impromptu shape sorter and was shoving crayons and ciabatta bread into the straw hole.
The only thing that would make her stop crying from me taking that away was giving her a fork to try out.
This, she loved. There was fish flying and ketchup being flung about. By the end of it all, our table looked like a war zone.
As I wrote out my S.O.S. message in crayon on a napkin, I also eavesdropped in on the first-date couple next to us and all their small talk.
He talked about some Mexican dish he makes, She picked from the wine list. They laughed nervously at things that weren't even that funny.
Then I looked back at Justin and we smiled at eachother knowingly.
In the midst of our chaos, it felt so good to know we were past that part.
They might just look at us and think how worn we looked or how hectic it seemed, but really, we know better.
I would have never even thought twice about how fantastic a wide array of toilet paper roll choices are on my own.
And forks ARE fun.
We left the restaurant and let the kids play in the fountain downtown for a few minutes. We walked past a polka band playing in the street. Chloe did a jig. Tessa snuck more fries from the to-go container.
I realized as I looked longingly at couples quietly eating calm, peaceful meals, that all eyes were on us.
Those couples whos zen dinners I'd envied were nudging eachother and pointing at the girls with smiles on their faces. People were stopping and watching Chloe dance.
Maybe some of them even wished they were sitting at the table with the ciabatta/water shape sorter. Afterall, it WAS innovation at its best.
It's so easy to spend life looking longingly at what you don't have.
When I was single, I wanted a dark, handsome man. Now that I have it, I need to be reminded of that in the times when he's making comments about me needing a retaining wall to hold the clothes piled high on my dresser, or I'm mad that he took my Greek yogurt in his lunch.
When we were trying to get pregnant with Chloe, Every baby made me want to cry and bathe myself in baby bubble bath.
I need to remember that when I'm dragging the girls across the grass at the park headed back for the van because the two little ones are screaming and Alena's in some sort of hormonal melt down.(A scene that ALSO happened today)
Sometimes going out sounds so nice. All dressed up. Clothes free of dried snot.
I fondly remember group bbqs and staying out till 3:00. But then, all I wanted was what I have right now - Chubby, sticky, ketchup fingers patting on my arm at dinner.
I WANTED to be wrapping a barely cut toe in a Barbie band-aid.
I guess my point is - Be happy with what you have when you have it. Whatever it is. Because it is constantly changing.
I need to remember that though they be flinging food and writhing around, at least they are eating dinner with us. All too soon, they'll be off to the mall with their friends eating giant pretzels for dinner.
At least french fries are KIND OF made from a vegetable.
Soon this will all be over and I'll be sitting with Justin in some restaurant alone, nudging him to watch someone else's toddler dance by the fountain and I'll be sad that it all went by so fast.
The grass isn't always greener.
Sometimes the greenest grass is right under your feet.