“Shall we get some food?” asked my husband as we walked out of a successful bowling family outing. We were all on a bit of a high from a family activity that had gone to plan. I looked up to see what he was referring to and saw a burger restaurant was in front of us, it was a takeaway, sit-down-if-you-want type of establishment. I assumed we would grab some food to eat on the go, as we have not sat down as a family in a restaurant for many years, longer than I can remember.
Rhys doesn’t do sitting down, waiting for food and social norms like eating out, are not part of his agenda. He will shuttle run up and down between the tables, and if the opportunity presents itself, he will run out an open door. There was once a situation where he didn’t want to sit at the table with us and decided to sit down at a table with an old couple who were on a quiet meal out. They didn’t seem to mind, but probably wondered what was wrong with us!
We find eating out stressful, and have therefore discounted it from family activities, resorting to a quick take away, picnic or lunch at home.
Until now. We decided to give it another try!
We took a chance, and as the food got ordered, I ushered our family into a booth. We all sat across the table from each other, Rhys included, and I thought to a picture I had seen earlier on my Facebook feed. I thought of families who regularly go out for food together, they snap a shot of them all around the table, conversing and enjoying a meal.
Here we were sitting, just like that family in the photo I had seen earlier.
We were however naturally contingency planning, knowing that our food could just be packed up and taken with us if something went wrong.
As we dished out the food, Rhys wouldn’t touch his hotdog, and pushed away the chips, but he sat there with us. He was happy to sit calmly and watch us eat, and look around at the sights of the restaurant. We all took our time eating our burgers and shared a strawberry milkshake, passing it around letting the paper straw get soggier with every sip (not the best decision!).
The environment was calm and stress free. A feeling of achievement washed over us. Our whole family out having a meal together, without one of us jumping up every two seconds to retrieve Rhys or calm him down.
As we sat, we took a photo. A photo that means more to our family than any other family’s weekly breakfast meal out. The first photo of us having a meal out together. The first photo ever.
We sat as a family eating a meal. The first meal together in a restaurant in forever.
There are no more words to describe the feeling of achievement and success. We are all moving forward in this scary world, and goals are limitless. Who knows what we will achieve next!
What are your experiences of eating out? Head to Facebook and let me know your story.