It was a dreary, rainy day, and the gray skies matched our moods. So much for the sunshine state. We had all been quite blue since sending Nana and Papa back north. Living 1200 miles from family just gets harder and harder as the kids get older. Eighteen-month-old T-Rex wandered around the house for days looking for Papa, and it was all I could do not to cry. I called my Mom on the phone and T-Rex was yelling, “GRANDMA J GRANDMA J!!!!” It’s as if he was just desperate – give me a GRANDPARENT PLEASE!!!!
So that particular gray morning, we had some shoe shopping to do, and I decided to splurge and take the kids out to lunch for fun. Prior to this, I have only ever eaten out with the kids by myself once – when The Narrator was out of town on business.
I asked Little Miss where she wanted to go and was quite surprised she didn’t give an immediate “Chick-fil-a!!” Instead she thought about it, and thought about it, and then asked me where I would like to go! “Do you still want to go to the grapes restaurant?” I asked her.
I could barely believe the words coming out of my mouth. The grapes restaurant is Olive Garden. The week prior, while Nana and Papa were here, we had driven by there and she saw the grapes on the sign and asked to eat at the “Grapes Restaurant,” but we were headed elsewhere.
A sit-down restaurant? By myself? With two toddlers? Am I crazy? I must be. Crazy for unlimited breadsticks, soup and salad for lunch that is! I couldn’t even remember the last time I had eaten at Olive Garden, but it seemed like it had been a decently priced lunch place. So I wandered into Olive Garden with a kid on each hand a gave the hostess a goofy smile and said, “It’s just the three of us!”
We walked past all the business people having lunch meetings and families who met grandparents for lunch. Everyone smiled at us as we walked to our table. Of course, Little Miss was waving at everyone as we walked by, and T-Rex had a huge grin on his face. It was as if they both knew this was a special day – we get to have a grown up lunch with Mama!
I got both kids situated in booster seats, and they both promptly informed me that they wanted mac ‘n cheese, naturally! Oh, and Little Miss wanted grapes too. I had a hard time explaining why there were grapes on the sign, but not in the menu. She was ok with it, thankfully.
The food arrived rather quickly, and oh how I had forgotten about those soft, warm, garlic breadsticks! I sat there in complete wonder as I watched my two kids behave so well and feed themselves with big-people spoons. T-Rex polished off his whole bowl and didn’t even make a mess. I kept pinching myself. We had a LOVELY lunch together. In fact, T-Rex randomly throughout the meal would raise both little arms above his head and say, “YAY!!!” Not to be outdone, Little Miss would copy cat raising her arms and saying, “YAY!!” After about the third time of the arm-raising praise, I decided to join in and raised my arms over my head and said, “YAY! for a fun lunch!!” Then Little Miss said, “Yay I got tap shoes!!” And T-Rex said, “YAY YAY!” People around us were smiling, and another mom who had met her husband and kids for lunch smiled and made eye contact. I looked at her and said, “Lunch is really good!” She laughed.
They grow up too fast. I’m trying to savor the moments.