Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap

You ask about children in adult places like fancy restaurants.  I answer with a story and a poll of my own.

There once was a woman who spent most of her time at home with a precocious five-year old daughter and a rambunctious baby boy.  She lived in a strange city far from her mother and her southern roots.  She learned how to manage her time and her children as she waited for her husband to come home from work.  Sometimes the waiting was almost unbearable for he traveled several weeks a month in his new job and she had no outside help or knowledge of a single good babysitter.

She fought the weariness of diapers, mac and cheese, sesame street, laundry and the sound of her own voice.  And then there was the snow.  Lots of it.  She didn’t get out much because of the enormous effort it took to bundle everybody up and she worried about the slick pavement.  She learned how to shovel the walk and clear a path for the mailman whom refused to deliver the mail if she didn’t.

One evening her husband was due home after a four-day trip and she had every  intention of preparing his favorite meal.  The day got away from her and there was nothing on the stove or in the oven when arrived.  He cheerfully announced that he was taking the family out for dinner.  Not the typical fast food family restaurant, but a “fancy” restaurant.  Overjoyed at the prospect of a much-needed break, she jumped into action, readying herself and the children.

They arrived at the restaurant, not exactly 4 star but fancy enough, and took the table in the corner that the hostess selected for them.  The woman put her toddler in the high chair and then sat down with her husband and daughter.  Smiling, she ordered her favorite dish and anxiously waited.  As she waited the baby began to fuss.  The mother reached in her diaper bag and brought out a pacifier.  It calmed him for a bit.  Then he fussed some more.  Out came the crackers and juice.  The baby got a little louder.  The husband and the daughter jumped in, trying all their tricks to calm the unhappy child who relished the attention.

Finally the meal came and everyone was happy and calm.  The mother was about to take her first bite when a woman from another table stormed over and yelled  at the little family for spoiling her dinner.  “I didn’t come out to dinner to listen to your baby cry,” she fumed and her voice shook with rage.

Shocked and embarrassed, the husband asked for the check and told his wife to take the children and get in the car.  She grabbed up the baby, took her daughter’s   hand and walked out crying.  He paid the bill and left the restaurant, never acknowledging the nods of sympathy from many of the diners and the untouched food on four plates.

Please take a moment and answer my poll (click on results to view)

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14 thoughts on “Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap

  1. This was very interesting and not easy to answer. I went with the “chill out” reply, but… it’s so hard. The other lady was very nasty and rude, but entitled to a quiet meal… and yet… she was awfully nasty and rude.

  2. More than once I have left my table and offered to walk and calm a fussy baby. I love babies, and they seem to love me back. Mine are all grown up, so I get time with a little one, and the family gets some quiet time to finish their meal.

  3. Pingback: Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap « Just Josh

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