Let me begin this post by saying, "I am NOT at a good place with my children." We have traded a life filled with Aunts, Uncles, Grand-parents, Great-grandparents, and friends who have loved on and invested in our children, for a life on our own out here on the West coast. We know it is going to be good for us, but the repercussions of that choice at this very moment are a little...much. I have learned that my girls have grown accustomed to a WHOLE HECK OF A LOT more attention than I am physically able to offer.
In practical application in my life it looks like this: Jeremiah has a strenuous new job, so it's my----(cross) opportunity to show him we're in this together by taking on the girls in their entirety. Yes, amen. He needs me. I want to be here. B.U.T there's the real issue of the tee-ninciness of this apartment, the fact that Mary Aplin has been like a cantankerous, leaky faucet to potty train, the foreign nature of a new big city, and the lack of another loving family member to absorb some of the girls' energy/attention/education/need to be in the spotlight/HELP!!! to deal with.
Those first two paragraphs are the intro. I just don't want you to think I'm talking to you from some mother-of-the-year-who-adores-every-last-ounce-of-her-children high horse. My children have embarrassed me in public and harassed me in private more in the past month, than they have in their entire lives combined...but, they're still my two favorite little people on the earth. Which is why I want to say this:
WHY DOES SEATTLE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH CHILDREN??!!!
There are a handful of restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama that I would not take my children for dinner. Because they are expensive, or have white table-cloths, or have a bar filled with rowdy people that I don't want them exposed to. A handful. However, here in Seattle I feel like every restaurant we approach, I have to walk inside, with my proverbial hat in my hands and ask, "Is it alright for my children to eat here???" And 8 times out of ten....they tell me, "No, sorry. No kids here." And I walk back out with a red face, muttering under my breath about how embarrassing that was, and wishing that I could try Seattle sans babies and see if it sets me ablaze.
Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, because I have yet to find a "cheap" restaurant in Seattle either...except for good 'ol Taco Bell and McDonalds. However, even a drive-through chain, you know the ones that grace every street corner (to the point of being eye-sores) in the South, are extremely hard to find here. How many times have you had to use a GPS system to find MickeyD's? Because that's the only way you'll find one here in Seattle. And you can snicker about me being so desperate to find McDonalds, but you just think about being out and about after a hair-brained morning, finally getting both girls strapped into their car seats, and then think about having to 1) find an open parking space big enough for your big 'ol SUV 2) parallel park 3) pay (with the cash you never have) for your parking space 4) undo both girls from their carseats as cars whizz by your precariously open door 5)and then walking with your whiney, hungry children that several blocks back to the cute but (hopefully) inexpensive local restaurant you just passed...YOU'D BE GPS'ING A DRIVE-THROUGH TOO!
Why can't Pace and Mary Aplin come with Jeremiah and me to dinner anywhere in Seattle that is not a chain?
Do you think children are disruptive? Do you think they are more disruptive than that loud drunk guy who almost spilled his drink all over me?
Do you think they are distracting? Do you think they are more distracting than that man with hairy legs wearing a short white tennis skirt with tall black socks?
Do you think they are messy? Are they more messy than that woman's dog underneath her table with its tongue hanging out of his mouth?
I know that some children are un-ruly and my children probably shouldn't be allowed in public at this particular point in time either, but I say--Let the parents make that call! Then, if they don't make a good decision, you have every right to ask them to please excuse themselves (and here is your food in a doggie bag). But, don't act like my children are lower class citizens than the dogs you allow to crouch underneath the table. They are marvelous little people, who I would prefer to spend an evening with over almost any adult I know. And you hurt my feelings.
I feel like society has some things confused, and this rant comes after finding myself stepping in line with society. After the embarrassment of being turned away from several restaurants and the hesitation to go into another for fear of facing the same fate, I found myself wondering (laughingly) how our parents would feel if we just shipped the girls home for a couple of months and really experienced Seattle.
Then, today I heard some info-mercial on PBS saying, "...because families are made for FUN..." And it hit me like a nine-pound hammer: God--the supreme being who spoke the whole universe into existence--instituted marriage and the family. He created us for fun, for purpose, for the satisfying life that He intended. I am not weird for wanting my children by my side as we experience life--that's exactly what God intended. How can we expect to foster confident, loving children if we don't delight in their fellowship and love their company (Is anybody else channeling Edith Schaeffer :))?
Now you know why I started this blog the way I did. At this particular moment, Jeremiah has taken the girls to get ice cream because I could not take one more minute of togetherness :)... I understand that couples need date night (I more than most, I think!) and there should be restaurants out there that children are generally...unwelcome. But not the majority of them. Even on "date night" if you can't delight in the sound of laughing children in the background--you need to check the status of your own heart. I know I've often had to check the status of mine.
(I do feel the need to point out two restaurants that have been safe havens to us when we were walking around, stranded with no place to eat with the girls. Both of these restaurants not only allowed our children inside, but were very kind to them and gave them crayons to color with: Volunteer Park Cafe (Steph it was all you said and more!!!) and Lombardi's (which is actually a bit of a Seattle chain, but beggars can't be choosers.))