I had a very special brunch date today with my son. He’s been staying home with me on Tuesdays, my work-from-home day that allows me the privilege of extra time with my son and my work is luckily flexible enough to be shifted to nap time, evenings, and weekends. As he became increasingly comfortable at nursery school I began to wonder if keeping him home with me was selfish—he loves school, has many friends, and learns a ton from his teachers. I didn’t know if Tuesdays with Mommy could compare, but as a working mom the bonding time is important and special to me, so they continued.
Today we accomplished something for which I have been waiting a long time. B and I have taken N out to eat MANY times, sometimes successfully, sometimes leaving restaurants in shame or with very generous tips, but I had not yet done this on my own. I’ll admit that mostly this is because I was overwhelmed at the idea of taking him to an actual restaurant without an extra set of hands. Usually one of us preoccupies him while the other childproofs the table and digs through the diaper bag for toys, snacks, and other tricks of the trade. I worried that this would be too much for me to do alone.
With a recent burst in language and declining number of tantrums, I decided to brave it as part of our Tuesday adventures. I asked N if he wanted grilled cheese and with the ensuing repetition of “cheese, cheese, cheese” I agreed that we should head out to a local café. We were lucky that our waitress seemed to understand the urgency to ordering and bringing our food promptly. I ordered French toast and N ordered grilled cheese. He of course ate my French toast and ignored the grilled cheese.
A major difference about today’s brunch though, besides being the solo parent, was there was no diaper bag full of distractors, there was no pacing around the restaurant, and there was no screaming. We sat and had a civilized, almost adult meal. We discussed the “straw straws” (strawberries) that came with the French toast, we said “buh-bye” to the ladies at the table next to us, and we politely asked for water when thirsty. We ate off plates. No food touched the ground.
In the haze that is sometimes working full time and parenting, I sat at the café table today and saw my little baby as the little boy he is becoming. I glimpsed a future of brunches together where we share stories and meals like friends. If I didn’t already treasure these Tuesdays together, I certainly did today. I’m looking forward to next week already.