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The People at the Pizza Place

When you first become a parent, every single outing is a HUGE deal.  You have to pack your diaper bag with diapers, bottles, wipes, back-up clothes, back-up clothes for the back up clothes and EVERY POSSIBLE ITEM there’s even the slightest chance you will need. Just in case the world ends while you go out for pizza, you have canned goods in your bag.  When you are out in public and the baby cries, you completely stress out.  Not only because you are new to parenting and crying still freaks you out, but you are also worried about what everyone around you thinks.  They are all looking at me!  What if they know that I don’t know what I’m doing?  I hate to break it to the new parents but it’s kind of a well-known fact that parenting doesn’t come with a handbook.  Everyone DOES know that you don’t know what you are doing.  And it’s okay!  You will learn to stop caring, trust me.

Flash forward a few years.  You have more children but you actually bring LESS stuff with you.  If you are really daring, you might even ditch the diaper bag completely because by now you’ve been around the block a few times and are confident in your ability to deal with whatever crisis the outing brings.  And the best part is that you are no longer stressed about what other people think.  You may even find their reactions quite entertaining.  In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed a recent trip to a local pizza place with some friends that also have young kids.  By the end of dinner our kids were bouncing off the walls but we were having a great time and no one was going to stop us!  We looked around the restaurant and found the usual audience.  You know who I’m talking about, right?  Let’s see, there’s…
The young dreamy couple.  These two love birds are out on a date.  They are all googly eyed over each other and glance at us dreaming of the day they will have kids too.  But the moment our littlest one lets out the loudest and highest pitched scream he can, they whisper to each other how they will never let their kids do that in the restaurant.  They think I don’t know what they are saying but I see them and I just chuckle to myself.  I’ve been there.  I dreamed of this day and my kids were going to be perfect too.  You just wait.  
The family with young kids just like us.  We spot them right away.  And give each other the nod.  They are in the same “club” and we will provide each other support from across the restaurant no questions asked.  Your kid just spilled their drink across the whole table?  We’ve got napkins and the we-feel-your-pain smile for them.  My husband is in the restroom when my little one says he has to go NOW.  They will keep an eye on our table and let our waiter know we’ll be right back.  We don’t even actually know these people but we understand each other and will back them up if needed.  It takes a village, right?
The peek-a-boo club.  These are the people that think our kids are so stinkin’ cute no matter what they are doing.  In fact, they will actually egg them on with little games from a far.  There he goes hiding behind his napkin.  Peek-a-boo.  My child thinks they are SO funny!  I just want to say thank you to the peak-a-boo club. Without you I would have never be able to take a few bites of my pizza.  Your kindness does not go unnoticed!
The Judgy McJudgingtons.  They have nothing to talk to each other about so they find joy in discussing our perceived inability to parent.  Did you just see that?  His pacifier fell on the ground and she just gave it right back to him.  That’s disgusting.  They never make eye contact with me and think I don’t know what they are saying.  They are obviously forgetting that I am a Mom which means I have super powers including eyes and ears in the back of my head.  And news flash;  my kid has eaten dirt, licked windows and blown zerberts on the slide at the play place.  I can promise you he has been exposed to germs in MUCH worse ways than his pacifier falling on the ground.  And besides, it landed nipple up and everyone knows nipple up doesn’t even count.  Am I right?
The family with teenagers.  The teenagers  at this table are looking at their phones and making it clear that they would rather be ANYWHERE ELSE but out to dinner with their parents. My parents are so lame.  The parents try so hard to engage their teens.  They even use our crazy little kids as a topic for conversation.  We remember when you were that age.  You were so cute.  You used to do the same thing when we took you out for pizza.  I remember this one time… <insert teenagers rolling eyes>  I look at this table and think there’s no way my kids will ever think I’m lame.  (Oh crap, I’m like the young-dreamy couple, aren’t I?)
The empty-nesters.  This is the table with the couple whose kids are all grown up and are with their own families tonight.  They may even have grandchildren the ages of our kids.  They make eye contact with us frequently and smile with tears in their eyes reminiscing a time when they were in our shoes.  If they get the opportunity, they will stop by our table to say enjoy every moment of it.  It goes by too fast. 
Does this all sound a little too familiar?  Which one is your favorite?
The empty-nesters are hands-down my favorite of the people at the pizza place.  Even as I sit with a pizza hand print on my shoulder, one child pouring sugar onto his lap and the other attempting to climb over the booth, these are the people that remind me to find joy in every moment.
And for that I am grateful.  #sheswinning

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