We joined family and friends at a restaurant that specializes in overweight-family-style eating with endless side dishes and generous heaps of fried hushpuppies. My husband described the ambience as "Disneyland and a retirement home had a baby." It's big, country-thematic, inexpensive, and super entertaining if you're under 5 -- which, HELLO, is exactly the reason I picked it!
Seriously, when we were ushered to our table we passed by an area with a sign declaring it an "adults only section." As if it were some animal exhibit at the zoo. "Ooh, look at all the childless diners... how sad and quiet they look..." Not like the screaming-tasmanian-devil-toddler-section we
Most of us ordered the fried chicken, while my mom broke the spell with liver & onions. I had hoped to convince the boy of the wonders of fried chicken and gravy-slathered mashed potatoes. What did he do with a chicken leg? Stabbed and dismembered it with a toothpick flag and straw, then declared he was "all done." The chicken certainly was. Oh well -- at least he enjoyed playing with ice cubes and straws. I made a point to smile and thank him, more than once, for being a good boy in the restaurant. It seemed to help. I'm still working on the positive-reinforcement tactic.
After we ate, we strolled down the hallway and came across a theatrical display of googly-eyed plush chickens sitting atop hay bales, automated to talk and sing songs. My son, because he is under 5, LOVED it. He danced to the music, stared open-mouthed at the talking chickens, and could only be lured away with the promise of buying treasure with the wooden nickel our server gave him. What did I do? I stood next to him, dancing along with him, beaming with joyous pride and hilarity at our little moment together. And although I thought about it, I did not whip out my phone and take a photo or video. I allowed that time to absorb me, deeply imbedding the sweetness of its beautiful memory like honey poured over hot biscuits.
Some moments are so precious that to preserve them artificially is to diminish their value.Well, my husband did take a photo of us from behind, unbeknownst to me. But the moment is still mine.
Although I don't put a big priority on presents, my family chose to bless me with some special ones. My husband gave me a lovely, purse-sized day planner (partly in response to my failing mommy brain) and brought me a glass of champagne along with my own happy-birthday-cupcake while he sang to me. My mother gave me a big, glass rooster to decorate a different spot in my kitchen since the last one met an untimely demise, having crashed to its death from its perch in the window sill. My friend, knowing something of my heart's desires, gave me two journals; a directive journaling book and a songwriter's journal (more on that another day). And my other friend gave me an adorably girlie cut-glass bowl with butterflies christening the edge.