****Disclaimer - this was actually written in September of 2008 while we still lived in Pensacola, Florida.*****
Unfortunately, the title refers to my family of 4 in relation to the rest of the diners at the IHOP here in Pensacola yesterday around lunchtime. There are days when you can go out in public with your children and attract kind smiles, an adoring look, and an occasional hopeful pat on the belly of an expectant mother. Then there are days like yesterday. Although I thoroughly enjoyed myself - as did Jonathan - I'm not positive the rest of the diners shared that sentiment. Let me set the stage....
As we left church yesterday, (with our precocious 3 year old happily reciting her Bible Verse and telling us that God created the world; and Lena hugging my neck in between playing peek-a-boo with Jonathan) we thought that a meal out would be a treat. We both were desiring brunch type food, so we started on the hunt. Canaan was quite thrilled to recap every moment of her Sunday School class for us - the snack was the biggest item as far as we could tell. (Or they had gold fish 15 times in an hour. I'm thinking it was just her highlight moment.) Lena was enjoying "singing" in her car seat while hugging a stuffed pig to her chest. Every mile we drove, however, brought fewer happy noises from the back. Unaware of the swift turn, Jonathan and I continued to decide the meal location. IHOP was the winner. :)
When we entered the restaurant, Canaan decided to LOUDLY announce "Mommy. I HAVE TO POOP! HURRY!" I quickly directed her to the restroom while Jonathan guided our younger force of nature to the table. In case you missed the info- Lena can now walk. Which is wonderful - except for when she CAN'T and wants to. Then a scene ensues. I exited the bathroom with a twirling Canaan in tow and we went in search of Daddy and Lena. There was no need for looking through the tables. Lena was a veritable megaphone calling us to herself. She wasn't unhappy - she just had A LOT to say and wanted to be heard....in the next building. As our time at the table continued (with numerous tests of our reflexes by Lena) we realized this was probably not the best day to be out. Once Canaan saw my side of bacon she asked nicely for a taste, so I handed her a piece. She leaned over to Jonathan (they were sitting next to each other) to pat his shoulder and say "Hey Buddy, look at my bacon." (No idea why she has suddenly started trying the "buddy" name on Daddy.) Then she got a little excited and the entire piece of perfect bacon fell to the floor. What can you do? Then, Lena decided she was going to die if she didn't have a taste of Jonathan's pancakes - really, she was literally yelling "Daddy! DADDY!! DADDDY!!!!!" I was of no use whatsoever, because at about that moment I was struck with the hilarity of our dining out experience. You see - right in my line of sight were 3 couples enjoying their meal quietly, without sharing any of their food, not one of them clearing things from the edge of the table so the claws of a baby wouldn't knock it over. So I responded in the way any sane mommy would - I started giggling. Which turned into laughing until I was crying. In that moment it went from a challenging experience, to yet another of the untold "joys of parenting." The picture is seared in my mind - me, bent over laughing; Lena, contentedly scarfing pancakes and syrup with one leg propped on the arm of the high chair; Jonathan sandwiched between the girls feverishly laying claim to a few morsels; and Canaan pointing out every single thing in the establishment and saying its name 4 or 5 times. It was a treasure of a moment.
For some, that experience probably made them double check their pill packet; but for me, it helped me remember that each day's moments make up life. I'll take moments like that any day.
(But we might have to find a new breakfast place....I'm not sure we'll be allowed back!)