Time Stands Still

Posted by mwallach on July 12, 2011 in My Kids, New To You |

Dear That’s Life,
For the first time in almost six years, my husband and I went on a vacation without our children. I wondered if I would feel badly about not taking them with us or if I would have trouble walking out the door, JFK my destination. Would I have to fight back tears or encourage them to call me as much as they needed to? Ha. None of that happened. I got on the plane, plugged my headphones in to my ipad and never looked back.

So much in life is about timing. In this case, I was ready to be recharged, looked forward to having “alone time” with my better half and felt comfortable taking some time away. While I am confident I would not have been so at ease had we left the kids a couple of months earlier, the time was now. Like any other vacation, however, all good things must come to an end. And just like any other vacation, it was as if I had never left.

Feeling a little guilty, we decided to take the kids out for dinner the first night we were home. After camp was over for the day, they came home, showered, and dressed to go back out. We are incredibly mindful of disturbing other paying customers who have chosen to go out dine out as well but did not sign up to eat with the Wallachs. Even at a pizza store, we respect the rights of other diners, though there is no expectation of those eating at a pizzeria of flowers or wine. The restaurant we went to is designed with two sections. There is a formal dining area as well as an informal section with booths rather than tables, meant for customers having ice cream, not for those sitting down for a full meal. Nevertheless, that is where we sat. Experience has shown that isolation is key. We, therefore, thought this table was ideal.

Although I have learned numerous lessons about taking small children to restaurants, I have still not perfected this art. Variables are constantly in flux, few things are consistent, moods constantly shift. Crayons in hand and paper are always in tow, as we color and draw while waiting for our orders to arrive. It usually keeps everyone occupied for a while, but not this time. Our plan for this table was backfiring, fast – the evening unraveling before our eyes. No one was happy, each child wanting to sit next to Daddy. Three kids and only two sides to my husband, the numbers just did not work out. By the time our group reached a fever pitch, it was time to divide and conquer. In this case, that meant three of us sitting inside the restaurant and two going outside to a table set up on the sidewalk. Wallach, table for two…and Wallach, table for three.

I sat outside with my son who could pass for my twin. Ironically enough, he is a twin, though he and my daughter look nothing alike. We received many cute comments and were admired by numerous smiling faces as people passed by, walking to their own destinations. He told me about his day, how much fun he had while we were away and how he drank so much of the pool water at camp that he thought he was sinking. Meanwhile, I looked at my husband who sat inside with our other two children. While, this was not the evening I had in mind, this is my life. And there is something to be said for things being exactly the way you left them.

Almost finished with our meal, the door to the restaurant opened and my daughter peaked out. “I have to go to the bathroom,” she said. Even before I could respond, my son (her twin) waved me off. “Don’t worry,” he said, motioning for me to stay in my seat. “I’ll take her.” I froze, then burst out into laughter. The kids headed off alone, making their way through the restaurant, while stayed where I was, wiping the tears from my eyes.

Understandably so, my confused husband came outside to clarify why two small children were walking away on their own while I laughed hysterically. I explained, though my answer did not make him happy. “Go get them!” he exclaimed. “They really can NOT go to the bathroom by themselves!”

I smiled. It’s like we never left.

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