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God love you, Chili’s Couple

December 1, 2012

We went to Chili’s for dinner last night. I’ll let the pieces of that statement just sit there  and take effect for a minute. Chili’s. Dinner. Last night – Friday night. Has it all sunk in for you yet?

We went to Chili’s last night. Friday night. Yes, yes, your thinking is correct here – this is where parenthood takes us all – to a Chili’s. For our Friday night out.

I will tell you without shame that I really like Chili’s. You just can’t beat their 2-for-$20 deal, $5 house margaritas, and the amazingly tacky Chili Cook-Off photos they have hanging around every wall of their restaurants. I mean, honestly, how many Chili Cook-Off’s has Chili’s won over the years in order to have all those pictures in their restaurants nation-wide? It’s a marvel, I tell you, a marvel.

But I digress.

So we’re at Chili’s for our Friday night out. We have the baby wedged into the booth in his car seat carrier and, to our surprise, he’s quite happy and content to just be looking around at all the Cook-Off photos and Big-Mouth-Burger murals on the wall. When he gets a little restless, we take turns passing him back and forth so each of us can grab a bite of our appetizer and look at his adorable face. The waitress comes by and oodles at him (as she rightfully should – he’s the cutest thing anyone’s ever seen) and we applaud ourselves at how sociable our 10-week-old is.

Dinner comes and Baby gets hungry too. Because he recently decided to reject a bottle, I go ahead and nurse him in the booth. No big deal, I tell myself, I’ve done this before. Except the thing with nursing in public is that babies don’t always like it. At least, my baby doesn’t like it. He gets hot under his cover and now that he can grab onto things, he yanks at the darn thing and risks exposing me to the public at any moment. Despite these challenges, I somehow manage to get some food down him and, after a little while, decide we’re all done with his feeding.

I go to lift him out from under the cover and have somehow managed to get his little foot stuck under the booth. I realize this only when my son starts wailing, wailing because his foot is caught. In my haste to help him, I drop the side of the nursing cover that was keeping me modest and expose myself to the restaurant. Great. Just great. And because my child is screaming, people are looking right at me. Instinctively, I start sweating. This is also, just great.

He finally calms down and I attempt to regain my dignity when I notice a faint odor coming from my baby boy. Okay, he’s pooped, no big deal. Only that it is a big deal because, upon further inspection, he’s got a giant poop circle leaking onto the back of his onesie. People see that too. Alas. I practically drop the entire contents of the diaper bag onto the floor while bee-lining it for the bathroom, trying not to let the shame of my peep show and poop-stained son trail too closely behind me.

Baby and I return to the table after his wardrobe change. My husband finished his meal and mine sits in front of my seat  not having been touched. I pass off the baby and attempt to start into my burger, offering a shy apologetic smile to the curious eyes of the restaurant.

I make sheepish eye contact with the parents of the two boys sitting in the booth across from us and they both give me huge smiles.

“We’ve been there,” the wife says, “you’re doing great.”

“Thanks,” I say, “and sorry he started screaming. I hope we didn’t ruin your meal.”

“Oh, don’t worry,” she beams, “we thought it was precious! We could barely hear him, really. It’s such a sweet time.” She gestures at her two boys, “and here is your look into the future!”

I return her smile with my own. She is a gem. And that is a good look into the future – a family that’s grown, enjoying one another’s company, and eating together. That’s a good look into the future, even if it means we’re still having dinners on Friday nights at Chili’s.

I look across at my baby boy. He gives me a huge gummy smile. He doesn’t care that Mommy had a mishap with the nursing cover. He doesn’t care that he pooped all over his clothes. His foot-stuck-under-the-booth episode has long been forgotten. He’s happy and healthy and secure in the arms of his daddy. His world is just right.

The Mom across from me is right – it is such a sweet time. A truly, truly sweet time. She offers a nice look into the future, but I think I’ll stay right where I am for now. The present is a good place to be.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2012 12:28 pm

    Oh, my, this is so familiar to me! Even though it’s been 40 years since I had a baby of my own. We’ve had a steady stream of grandbabies over the last 20 years, however, so these kinds of memories are amazingly fresh. And you’re right. Don’t rush through this – you’ll get there before you know it. GREAT story-telling, LKP. Thank you.

  2. December 1, 2012 12:37 pm

    I totally remember these days! We have always brought our girls out to eat at restaurants. Sometimes things go amazingly smooth and other times … we pack it to go! Continue to enjoy these moments. You are SO right – enjoy the present. It all goes by so quickly. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and love how you are embracing this time of your life!

    • December 1, 2012 3:33 pm

      Thanks, Debbie! So grateful you stopped by and can relate to these crazy days. Glad to know I’m not the only one in these beautiful, often times messy and ridiculous, parent experiences.

  3. December 1, 2012 12:40 pm

    Reblogged this on Small Moments, Big Stories and commented:
    This mom is enjoying every moment. Even the tough ones!

  4. December 1, 2012 1:59 pm

    No kiddos for me, but I enjoy reading your blog, you have a great writing style. Keep up the good work!

  5. December 1, 2012 8:45 pm

    The way you tell this story shows just how right you are for the Mom job. I’m inspired to do more of two things: smile at new moms and eat at Chili’s!

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