I was sitting on the couch contemplating cooking dinner. We are on a budget, and it would have been so simple to just cook. But, I was tired. I was desperately wanting to just enjoy the moment and have some laughs. I also wanted to get dressed and actually look nice. Oh...and have dessert. Apparently my husband was thinking something similar. We easily decided we'd be going out with hardly more than eye contact and some smiles!
It was a Saturday around 5, and we had a 20 minute drive to Olive Garden (where our favorite dessert is). We decided it was early enough that we should beat the crowds. When we arrived there were people already waiting outside!
I jumped out to put our names on the list, while my husband went to park. I asked how long the wait would be: 40 minutes! Um, no thanks. I ran out to talk to my husband about where we should try next. Instead, we decided to wait and give it a shot. Back in to put our names on the list!
During the 40 minute wait, we had a great time. We sat outside for a bit (although it was pretty chilly). Eventually we made our way back to our car, buzzer in hand. We had the radio on, and Caroline got to sit on Daddy's lap in the driver seat. She was thrilled and pretending to drive to the water tower that was in view.
When 40 minutes had elapsed, we decided it was time to head in and wait inside. 40 minutes quickly turned to over an hour. At this point we were thinking we'd be seated any minute. I decided to take advantage of the half priced drinks at the bar just in case...
My husband made the comment that "there are a lot of patient kids in here". There certainly were! I looked around and noticed the same. He then made the observation that they "are all looking at phones". That was also true. Children had their faces glued to phones/tablets/etc. They were content to be watching whatever it was they were watching. The parents looked tired and frustrated. That could have easily been us feeling the same way.
I looked at our family, as we lined the hallway and held our drinks and our daughter. We were trying to take up as little space as possible since there was simply no room to stand or sit in the waiting area. We were happy and content. Not once had we needed to pull out a phone or any toys to help distract our daughter. Pretty amazing really! Our 2 year old was just going with the flow and being so patient. We complimented her on this once we had really taken it in. We were all so happy in that moment, and having so much fun with one another, that the wait was hardly bothering us. By the time we got to our table we were commenting how great this night already was.
I was amazed at what was happening, really. When you take a step back and look at the situation, there's every reason to expect we'd be tired, cranky, hungry and at our wits end at this point. There's every reason to expect a 2 year old to be impatient and wanting to run around. Somehow, this almost disaster, was turning into a fabulous evening, however!
We then enjoyed a wonderful meal. We talked, laughed, and ate. The food was fabulous, and the company was even better. Caroline ate an amazing meal as well, and even tried some salad! She was polite and ordered her own chocolate milk! She was continuing to be patient as we waited on our food to arrive. She was perfect. The evening was perfect.
It was a much needed family night out, and it turned into one of the best last minute decisions ever. With a 2 year old in tow, you just never know if going out to eat is going to go smoothly, or if they are going to get frustrated, or not like the food, and be impatient, etc. I'm so glad we took a chance on this night, because, while all of the circumstances spelled disaster, it was the perfect evening for our little family, and we'll always remember it!
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