I did something crazy recently. I went out to lunch by myself. I’ve considered it. With my husband overseas for another year, eating out is something that just doesn’t happen much anymore. It’s not always easy to find someone to join you for lunch. Growing up, it was more of a luxury, and in many ways that’s still my mindset. So, I don’t go out very often.
I love my kids, but eating out with them is not exactly what I would call an experience to look forward to. Unless your idea of a great time is refereeing a heavyweight prizefight in a china shop surrounded by people that like to glare judgmentally, in which case have I got a group for you! Somehow I can’t seem to ever take them out without there being a fight. And, the youngest has never met a booth, bench or display he didn’t see as a climbable obstacle course. Unless of course he’s under the table-eating someone else’s fries off the floor. Yeah, it’s great.
But the other day as I was running errands before picking up from preschool, I did it. I went to a restaurant and ate by myself. By myself. Picture that for a minute. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Moms, picture eating by yourself. Go ahead, savor that feeling. Yes, it was everything you could imagine.
“Get down from there!”
“Seriously, can’t you two get along for even 5 minutes??”
“Get up from there”
“If you don’t stop that right not, we are LEAVING!”
“I’m sorry m’am. He didn’t mean to (insert really bad behavior here)…”
“I’m sorry. Here, I’ll pay to have it cleaned…”
Was completely replaced with:
“Can I show you to your seat?”
“How would you like that?’
“Can I get you anything?” (really, anything???)
“How is your meal?”
“Is everything to your satisfaction?”
I may have to eat out every day. For starters, I didn’t have to cook anything. Not a thing! I got to sit peacefully throughout my entire meal. No interruptions. Someone brought me things, and cared about whether or not I was happy.
Did I die and go to heaven?
A meal spent in peace and harmony? And all I had to do was ditch the kids and go by myself? Don’t get me wrong, I like sharing a meal with a friend as lively conversation with another grown-up is wonderful! But eating alone may become my newest guilty pleasure. I used to think it was only for sad and lonely people. But now I’m thinking…it’s for MOMS! I ate a whole meal where I didn’t have to reprimand anyone, apologize for anyone, have food or drink spilled on me by anyone. It was wonderful!
So, the next time I see a woman out eating alone, I’m not going to think about how sad it is that she has no one to join her for lunch. I’m going to see her for what she most likely is: a Mom who has escaped her children for a quiet, peaceful meal. Smart. Really really smart!!