The Gift at the Restaurant, Served with Love

The other night my two children and I went to a store to buy some birthday presents.  While we were there, they noticed a restaurant under the store that was connected by a staircase.  Both excitedly asked “Can we eat there?”  It was dinner time and the restaurant served good food, so I thought we would splurge.  We paid for our items, walked down the stairs and were seated.  The kids’ eyes were wide, looking around at all the colorful items.  They were excited to be eating in a “real” restaurant since if we do go out for a meal, it is typically a fast-food restaurant that has a playground indoors.  Table manners and proper etiquette are not required at such venues and so I found myself a bit anxious at what was to unfold before me.  At home, things never go as well as I would like at the dinner table, so what was to happen here in public? 

We were off to a good start with the host presenting a treasure chest to the kids that contained some really interesting toys.  A pleasant surprise.  We then selected our food and had a brief conversation about our days.  After the food was served, my 3-year daughter didn’t seem interested in her food.  She picked here and there, but didn’t eat much.  I began to worry that I was wasting money.  But then I bit into my salmon.  It was delicious.  Salmon is one of those items that I love, but would never attempt to make myself.  The salmon was cooked perfectly, it flaked off my fork into my mouth.  It melted in my mouth and the compliment sides on my plate went down my throat equally as well.  I paused and realized I was actually having a nice meal (not just French fries and a burger while hearing screaming children play on the play structure).  It was a good feeling.  Then the sadness followed.  My husband couldn’t be with us.  As usual these past years, it was me and the kids.  I missed my husband and being a family.  Jim is so sick that it is very difficult to get him out of the house.  Then the idea of him physically eating is another story.  He has a trach and a feeding tube and all his meals are ground up in a blender and inserted through a feeding tube.  He has not had the pleasure of tasting delicious food in his mouth for many, many months.  I know Jim would have loved this salmon just as much as I was.  I tried to shake these thoughts and concentrate on the positive and the gratitude for the moment.

I looked to my 5-year old son.   He was enjoying his meal as much as I was.  He was engulfing his shrimp and telling me how much he loved his food.  I replied with a story about when I was young and told him that when we would go to a restaurant, it was so special because you just didn’t go to restaurants very much those days.  I reflected on how if possible, whenever I could, I too would always order shrimp.  I loved them so much and reminded him that I still do like to eat them.  He paused.  I could see the wheels turning in his head.  He looked to his plate.  He had one more shrimp left.  Only one.  He looked at the shrimp.  He looked at me.  He did this again and then said, “Here you go mom.  You have my last shrimp.”  I smiled widely and said “No, sweetie.  I didn’t mean for you to give me your shrimp.  I was just telling you a story.  You eat it.”  He shook his head back and forth, “No really mom, I want you to have it.”  Again, I protested and again, he insisted.  I decided to take him up on his offer.  I thanked him as much as possible, told him how proud I was of him, and then I put that shrimp in my mouth and swallowed.  It was the best shrimp I’ve had in a long time, mostly because it was served to me with love and the reminder that relationships are important and that kindness can go a long, long, long way.

 

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mary Busch on August 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Wonderful, Erica!

    “Out of the mouths of ‘babes'” . . . almost literally!! Your burden is heavy, I know, but your blessings are many.

    You are loved. Mary

    Reply

  2. It’s true when they say that happiness depends on the circumstances while joy is not. You and your family are always in my prayers and hold on sis, our God is not sleeping. He still has you in the corner of His eye.

    @))–>>—–

    Reply

  3. So nice to get this comment today. Thank you SO much – it is true that God is looking out for us all. Just when I need this little pick-me-up, it comes. Your timing and kindness are truly appreciated.

    Reply

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