Thursday, 28 February 2013

Cheese and whine

A long overdue post. A while back, we went to Van Gaalens. We were in the mood for ploughman's platters, good coffee and tables underneath dazzling green trees. With a play area for Immy of course.

When we arrived, we were seated at our table, next to a contented-looking couple. He was reading
the sunday paper, she was smoking a cigarette and drinking a spritzer. Overall air of relaxation and general well-being. This becomes important later in the story.

Van Gaalen's doesn't have a kiddies menu, so we opted for what looked like the safest thing for Immy: yoghurt, muesli and fresh fruit. She went off to play, and we relaxed. Fast forward 10 minutes, to the arrival of her food. Farm yoghurt? Definitely not. Muesli? No way. She ate a piece of apple at least - and about 4 grapes after I had de-skinned and de-pipped them. That's it. After cajoling, pleading, speaking nicely, and then not-so-nicely: we gave up. She could go hungry (mental arms crossed). She ran off, and we sat quietly drinking our coffee and taking in the morning.

And then we heard it. The contented-looking couple at the next-door table had been joined by two girls, probably around 10 or 11. One was the daughter (we figured) and the other was a friend.
The daughter didn't want to eat her food. The mother had words. The father joined in. The mother shouted (under her breath), the father spoke through clenched teeth -  and the poor friend sat with head bowed, eating one mouthful after the other. The daughter whined ('but I don't want it'), the mother hissed ('you're spoiling it for everyone!'). The table settled into stony silence. Mom and dad's lips in a thin line. The daughter, crying. And the friend, desperately trying to go unnoticed in the midst of the family storm.

Rob and I exchanged a look. That look. The one that says 'at least we're not the only ones.' In that moment, I could have hugged that mom and dad. Because we've all been there. Such high hopes (I call them Great Expectations) for a lovely family day out. Or a perfect afternoon of arts and crafts. Or a Martha Stewart baking tableau. Or a highly-anticipated reaction to something great that you've done for your child.

The one lesson Immy keeps teaching me - and which I need to keep learning over and over - is to just let go. Because whatever it is, however it turns out - it's our story. This litte family - the mostly good, with the sometimes bad and ugly.

And oh. Those falling to love moments.

The one thing I know is that no matter how difficult the day, when I stand next to her bed in the dark and watch her breathing - she's perfect. And parenting is perfect.

At least for the next 8 or so hours.







~ m

2 comments:

Chetan said...

One day we will all say we knew the writer of the famous book called Small Adventures of a Big Life. Great writing Megan

Nathalie Williams said...

See Megs, I told you you're a good writer!