I was wrong.
Recently, in the two-fold effort to a) get out of the house and do something as a family and b) use a gift certificate we received for Christmas, we took the whole family out to eat. Since currently an outing that
Naps were achieved (to some degree), diaper bag well stocked and packed, kids clean and dressed accordingly and we were out of the house in just under an hour.
We drove the half hour to the restaurant, a local place near the lake and at this time of year brings in an assortment of weekenders who have cabins nearby. We chose an early supper time in order to avoid the inevitable meltdown by one or the other of the little girls and the suppertime rush. Easy peasy.
We were efficiently escorted to our table and while doing so Gianna decided that she would make her grand entrance by starting to cry loudly. You know, because we never take her out of the house or anything and she never sees real people.
Once seated, we managed to get her settled down and browse the menu. Quick and easy was on my mind. It was a hot summer day and a simple meal would suffice. Not to mention, the quicker our food was prepped in the kitchen, the quicker we could eat it and be out of there.
Within a couple of minutes, mission accomplished and food items selected.
And then we waited. And waited. For our delightful waitress.
My husband and I, neither of us being the 'annoying' kind or the 'bothersome' type of customer who demands speedy service, even we were getting pushed to our limits. The place clearly wasn't busy and there were probably more wait staff on hand than customers at the time. Apparently they missed the daggers we began to cast their way. Obviously, the rambunctious, climbing and screeching toddler didn't tip them off either.
Finally, we were tended to and our order taken. The big kids turned their attention to the tv behind us and were entertained with numerous trivia questions that flashed across the screen. There's nothing quite like a meal with your son shouting out random words while you are eating..."Mork and Mindy!", "Connecticut!"
Well, at least they were enjoying themselves.
As for daddy and I, we were fighting the untamed toddler who entertained the baby sister for a while before deciding that she'd like to sit in the infant carseat with her sister. The diaper bag contents had long past reached their usefulness and nothing could side-track Gianna from the numerous things she could not have.
We tried the big fish tank at the restaurant which lasted for a bit, but with the kitchen staff apparently as non-speedy as the wait staff, it hardly held her off.
With feeding time at the zoo fast approaching and no food in sight, we tried to keep things light and couldn't help but laugh while in the midst of what seemed to be an eternity of one very long humility lesson.
It wasn't that it was SO bad, but the feeling like we were 'those annoying people' everyone despises at the restaurant, really made me self conscious. But, what could we do? We handled each moment as we could, even as Margaret decided to try out her new trick of screeching in a public place and Gianna her climbing, falling and bonking on everything and everyone.
Finally, as I started to think perhaps we should have just ordered our meal to-go, it arrived. I hardly enjoyed a bite as I planned in my head an escape route should things still go sour suddenly and we needed to make a fast exit. I'd grab the diaper bag, baby, carseat and big kids. Reed would be left with busy toddler and paying the bill. Oh, and the eyes of all the other patrons watching us as we left the scene.
Thankfully, chicken strips and fries soothed the savage beast.
In the end, we survived. I only had to make one diaper change, everyone was fed and satisfied and we left with our dignity intact. Or at least we hopefully left without giving big families a bad name.
Turns out, there's a lot to be learned when you are just trying to use up a nicely gestured gift certificate. There were oodles of virtues (patience and humility for sure) to be learned by simply going out for supper as a family. Maybe we even gave the other patrons of the restaurant ample opportunity to work on some virtues as well. Or maybe I just felt like the spotlight was on us and no one really noticed a thing.
But hey, at least now I know that my son has turned out to be quite the bar trivia expert.
And next time (in about five years from now), I think I will order that margarita after all. With a side of humility.