Last night Mr Familyof5 and I were given a rare opportunity to go out, just us, no kids!
We chose a meal at our local Frankie & Benny’s. We go there often in the day time with the girls, they love it.
It was a really lovely evening, we ate far too much delicious food and chatted about all sorts, I was also impressed that we didn’t spend the entire evening talking about the girls like I’d anticipated, I did however think about them the entire time.
We’d booked our table for 8pm. I noticed as soon as we arrived that there were a number of families with children in the restaurant. I’m used to seeing children enjoying a meal in Frankie & Benny’s, but that’s usually in the day time so I was quite surprised to see so many there, whilst my own children were at home in bed.
Whilst chatting to Mr Familyof5 I couldn’t help watching these children, children of ages ranging from around 3 to 12 I estimated. They didn’t have the complementary activity packs that my girls usually
demand, busy themselves with, perhaps they’re only for the day time!? They didn’t have toys to entertain them, they weren’t clung to an adult demanding their undivided attention in the absence of some sort of toy or activity, they were not rolling around on the bench in their booth or rocking manically on their chair in desperate boredom. I heard no whinging, or moaning or bickering. They were content to sit and chat to their family. No one cried, no one got told off and no one died of boredom!
When we left I pointed out to Mr Familyof5 how I felt quite sad because as lovely as it was to see these happy and content children enjoying an evening meal, it reminded me how such a late night meal would not have been possible with our girls.
Mr Familyof5 wisely pointed out to me that tomorrow morning, unlike our girls after a late night, most of these children would not be awake at the crack of dawn and spend the entire day tired, bickering and crying, they’d most likely sleep in, even if only for a little bit and more importantly he reminded me that none of these children felt the need to busy themselves with activity packs, toys, endless nonsense chatter, noise and pointless questions in order to avoid the chaotic and difficult thoughts inside their heads.
There’s always something there to remind me how our reality is quite different to other families.