In my 60 years on this planet (not that I’ve lived on any others), I have learned a few important rules. A few things that you never do…
- Never swallow your gum or you’ll have to have your appendix out. (I have and I did.)
- Never run with a stick in your hand because you could trip and put your eye out. (I have and I didn’t.) And, most importantly and my personal favorite…
- Always make sure you never leave the house with holes in your underwear just in case you’re in an accident and have to go to the hospital. (I always do.)
When I was 24 I had two children. Eric was a little over two and Rachel was 4 months old. It was then that I learned a new, very important rule. Never, NEVER, go for breakfast in a business hotel restaurant with children in the middle of a work week.
When we lived in New Jersey and my husband would go on occasional business trips that were within driving distance, we would sometimes pack up and go with him. The room was already paid for and it was an inexpensive way to take a mini vacation of sorts.
This particular trip was to Philadelphia. Only a couple of hours away and very doable especially if we left during nap time. And so, off we went. It would be a short trip but, I thought, a fun one. If nothing else, it was a change of scenery. We arrived and settled in for the evening. Cliff would be working the next morning, so I’d be on my own for breakfast, but that didn’t phase me. It should have, but it didn’t. Remember, I may have been the mother of two, but I was only 24 and though I’d started thinking a little more since becoming a mother; I still didn’t think much. The seat of my pants always had wings and that is how I flew.
Though it was only 7:00 a.m., the restaurant was full and the sound of people discussing their business strategies for the day was everywhere. As soon as I entered with my children in tow, the atmosphere changed. As we walked past each table there was silence. I felt their eyes on me, following me, and I knew I had committed the unpardonable sin. I was a mother with children and they were the business elite. I had infiltrated their ranks. It was right up there with leaving the house in holey underwear.
I sat down and realized mine were the only children in there. The people around us went back to their chatter and ignored us. Our waitress came. The first thing she told me was not her name. Oh no, she didn’t tell me that. The first thing she told me was that they did not have a children’s menu. I think she thought I would get the hint and possibly go somewhere else but, I didn’t. I happily ordered eggs and bacon, toast and tea. I ordered an extra orange juice for Eric and was happy to share the rest of my breakfast with him, asking for an extra plate. All was well until the waitress showed up with our meal and the orange juice in stemmed glasses. When I asked if the orange juice could be put in a small water glass for my two year old, I was curtly told they didn’t have any glasses like that and then our waitress walked away, never to be seen again.
I situated Rachel on my lap and made a small plate for Eric. All was well until Eric tried to drink his orange juice. Since this was not a kid friendly restaurant, I was told there was no highchair or booster seat available, which left Eric kneeling on his chair to reach the table. He picked up his stemmed glass by the stem and, not quite able to balance it, poured it down the front of him before I could help him. It missed his mouth and his shirt and soaked his pants, puddling in the top of his diaper. He didn’t cry. He just told me he was “ticky”. I told him it was okay, took off his pants, much to the disdain of all around me, soaked up as much of the orange juice from his diaper as I could, and let him finish his breakfast in his shirt and his diaper. After repeatedly being told he was still “ticky” and recognizing the signs of an oncoming full blown meltdown, I decided breakfast was over. Since our waitress was still MIA, I stopped at the hostess desk to ask them to put our breakfast on our room bill. I ever-so-briefly let go of Eric’s hand to get a better hold on a wiggling Rachel and that’s when it happened. Eric, deciding he’d had enough of being “ticky”, removed the one thing standing between him and “untickiness”, his diaper. I looked down and saw Eric in all of his little boy glory. He was half-naked, but he wasn’t “ticky” and so he was happy. I nonchalantly picked up the offending diaper, which was fortunately only full of orange juice; scooped up my half-naked son, and walked to the elevator with my head held high. Once in the elevator, I laughed. What else could I do?
The next morning we returned to the ranks of our own people. For breakfast we ate at McDonalds, kid friendly, plenty of high chairs, and, most importantly no stemmed orange juice glasses. Because in the grand scheme of things, when it comes down to it, it’s really not that big a deal!
P. S. ~With this New Year, I would like to say to all of you…Thank you for reading my blog! I appreciate each one of you and hope, if nothing else, it makes you smile and lightens your load even if just for a little while.
P.S.S. ~You may think this is the end of this amazing adventure. You would be wrong. Please tune in next week for the sequel, “Ernie, A Washed Up Life”.