You can’t blame us for trying. This past Sunday it was a beautiful fall afternoon, and my husband and I took the opportunity to go for a walk with our son. After several blocks and dozens of restaurants, the urge hit me.
“Want to do something crazy and completely out of character?” I asked.
It was as if he could read my mind.
“You want to get a drink?”
This is why I married this man.
It was 4 p.m. and the idea of a Bloody Mary was tantalizing. We hadn’t had a drink during daylight hours in years. Literally, years. And we certainly hadn’t spontaneously stopped into a restaurant in just as long. Plus we had our toddler with us. Who were we? This was insane. But we were going to do it, dammit.
We walked into the first brunchy looking place that we saw. As soon as we sat at the table, Jake started wiggling and making very clear that he wanted out of his stroller. So we ordered our cocktails and guacamole, and played Hot Potato with the baby for the next 27 minutes.
Jake wanted nothing more than to run around, but since he’s still not that great at walking, and more importantly, has no sense not to make a beeline for the kitchen (or out the door, or down the stairs towards the bathroom…), putting him on the floor was not an option. So we took turns walking him around the restaurant, pointing to the flowers and the fans and the people and the pumpkins, while the other scarfed down the salty, spicy nectar of the gods and shoved corn chips in their face. It wasn’t really a date per se, since there was usually only one of us at the table at any given moment, but damn, it was good.
Since this was an impromptu outing, we weren’t armed with our usual tricks and tools. We had our little container of Cheerios, a stroller toy, the flameless candle that was on our table, and that was about it. Whenever Jake got a little antsy or noisy, back to the other parent it was for another lap around the room.
At one point when my husband was flying Jake in circles, I noticed a mother and her tween daughter at a table nearby. The girl had clearly just come from her soccer game, and the two chatted quietly and happily. It was lovely, really. I took in the moment and looked forward to the day I could spend a quaint afternoon on a little date with my son. Just then, Jake swooped in and drooled on my face as Adam passed him to me, eager to get a sip of his own Bloody Mary.
We left the restaurant without any major meltdowns, with zero Cheerios left on the floor, and with all of our food and drink consumed. We remembered to pay the bill, and even take our receipt (major feats, considering we had a toddler in tow). We considered the event a success. And I loved every minute of it — even the parts where I counted mini pumpkins for 6 minutes straight. Because this is my life now–for the better. No more afternoon cocktails in peace and quiet, but who wants that anyway? And soon enough, I too will be picking up Jake from his soccer game and splitting a plate of fried calamari with him while he tells me about his day. That sounds like the perfect Sunday afternoon to me.