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hamburgerOur son invited my husband and me out to dinner on Friday night, his treat. He recently got rehired to a job he had been laid off from a few months ago when business was slow, so he felt like celebrating. And he’s much better at celebrating than I am, one of the things I admire about him.

I didn’t have a clue what to have for dinner and figured it would be great not to have to figure out that conundrum! So off we went.

Just pulling into the parking lot of the restaurant made my stomach clench. We had to drive around the lot twice to find a place to park. All these people were in this one building? I was in trouble.

It was crowded and noisy and we waited 45 minutes for a table. I realized why I so seldom go out to dinner on a Friday night. (Well, hardly ever at any time, but that’s another matter.)

Because I only got sprung from the cast on my formerly broken ankle the day before and no way could I stand all that time, I edged out a kid for the end of a bench in the waiting area. He didn’t look up from the game on his dad’s phone, but he did move over. I sat there trying to find air space to breathe and found myself asking why anybody ever does this at all. (Okay, I may be showing my introvert skin.)

Then I started looking around. Mothers touched noses with their toddlers. High school sweethearts smooched. Friends tumbled in the door in bunches, laughing. Daddies pulled yellow balloons from the bunch and handed strings to grinning little girls. Parents slung their arms around their kids’ shoulders. An adorable toddler in purple sparkly boots couldn’t keep herself from bouncing her little toosh to the music coming over the loudspeaker.

And when the kid playing with the phone got to go order his burger, I saved space on the bench for my own kid (when did he get to be a full grown man?) and leaned into his shoulder to make sure he knew I was glad to be there with him.

I guess that’s what dinner out on Friday night is all about.

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