I always have these grand plans in my head….they sound so good and in my fairytale brain, they work out perfectly without a hitch. Ummmm. Yeah. Not really.
I had this great idea for my birthday to have a family dinner ….I wanted to sit outside and drink a margarita. Can you see it? Ideal weather, wind blowing…tequila….chips and salsa. Paradise. We arrived to a ½ hour wait. My son and husband came late because they had to get my oldest daughter off to her first “in-car” driving lesson. (so much for the whole family). A band was setting up outside and I thought..”Yeah! We can listen to music afterward dinner!” It was super loud in the restaurant so we had to talk loudly but, I had my margarita and chips…so far…so good. My BFF and her family were with us so we couldn’t sit outside because they don’t seat tables of more than 6 people outside. (stupid rule). So, we continued to scream to each other inside. My son and husband eventually came extra late. The driving instructor was late so the 6pm appt turned into 6:45pm appointment. My son Jack didn’t want to sit inside …he wanted to be outside by the water. Once we got our food Jack had made it clear that he’d had enough . I took him outside (skipping that second margarita and extra fajita) and thought we could listen to the music . We got outside just in time to see the band packing up. Dark clouds rolling in with tornado like winds. I quickly ran to the car and sat there with Jack…texting my birthday dinner guest that I was outside, that a typhoon was coming and they better hurry. And just like that , my fairytale dinner was over. Home at 8pm. Yippee.
Fast forward to last week. Another grand plan… It was my 19th wedding anniversary. Instead of a lavish gifts for each other, I bought tickets for the entire family to see The Lion King. Off we head to downtown, nice and early to avoid traffic and have a nice meal. We park and walk to the waterfront in DC. It’s about 4:45pm and it’s really warm…sweat is running down my back and one of the children (not the one with autism or the oldest…) is complaining… “Where are we going?? It’s sooooo hot. Do we have to walk?? “ My husband and I giggle and looked at each other like “oh..isn’t this fun…all of us together?” I’m pretty sure it was the last time that night I giggled.
Dinner was reasonably successful. There was a slight breeze (although one child didn’t think so) and the waterfront was beautiful. We got back to the Kennedy Center in time to wait a ½ hour in our seats for the show to start..late. Jack was happy for about the first 45 minutes. Then…loud autism-y noises and brief bouts of crying and stares lead me outside with him before intermission. I hooked him up to wifi so he could watch YouTube and relax in the lobby. I admit it. I sulked a bit. After intermission my daughters came out to find me. They genuinely felt badly that I had to take Jack out but, there was no way we could chance taking him back inside. Bob and I tagged and I watched the 2nd ½ of the show while Bob took Jack outside and eventually, to the truck to sit. Here we were ….on our 19th wedding anniversary –not together but rather, dealing with the stuff that makes us a unique family. I was super cranky by the time we had got home. It was 11:30pm. I had to get up at 5:30am for work the next day…I spent $500 on a show only 3 of us watched. I guess the only change I would make for next time is….well, nothing. I’ll keep believing in fairytales and magical family outings because occasionally, they DO happen. Maybe next year.