Ahh, going out for a family meal on Saturday evening reminded me of when my husband and I used to eat out before we had children…because it was NOTHING like it.
In the past we would get a taxi or a lift to the restaurant so we could both enjoy a couple of glasses of wine with our meal…now one of us has to drive so we play ‘rock, paper, scissors’ and offer each other hefty bribes to have the opportunity to imbibe copious amounts of much-needed alcohol.
I remember walking into the restaurant and being led to a secluded table in the corner where we could have some privacy…now we get led to a ‘secluded’ (read ‘isolated’) table at the opposite side of the restaurant (usually near either the toilets or the kitchen) to allow the other customers to have some privacy from us.
A candle would be placed between us and its soft light would gently illuminate our loving gazes whilst its mild warmth would reflect the warm glow in our hearts…now the soft light illuminates podgy little fingers about to get burned and the mild warmth reflects the stress sweating of two parents who are trying to stop their children from setting the tablecloth on fire.
At one time our murmured conversation and tinkling, flirtatious laughter would blend into the general ambience of our surroundings…now the general ambience of our surroundings is shattered by noisy, excited chattering, the odd scream or shout, hissed warnings and threats and loud ‘shushing’. Any laughter is firmly of the hysterical kind.
We would hold hands above the table and play footsie below it…if we tried that now we would probably impale our palms on a fork moved to prevent our offspring accidentally taking out an eye and ‘footsie’ would result in the kicking of our own children where they’ve crawled under the table.
We used to romantically feed each other food to sample what we had carefully chosen off an exhaustively perused menu…now we choose our own food based on the ease with which we can eat it whilst simultaneously helping a small child with theirs and if we’re hungry we choose something the kids don’t like so they won’t pinch it, regardless of how much we like it ourselves.
A meal out at one time would have lasted three or four hours…now we aim to be home inside an hour and a half and we’re usually paying the bill before the kids have finished dessert.
We used to arrive home, happy, relaxed and ready to pleasurably burn off some of the calories we’d consumed….
Now? Well, let’s put it this way…we arrive home. And that’s where any similarity ends 🙂