They are all grown now. They said it would go fast, and even though you knew it would be true, you couldn’t believe the speed at which a whole chapter, the middle of yours and the beginning of theirs, seemed to literally just pass before you in a blink. You ache to have so much of that time back. Even things you thought you would never ever miss. Even things like eating out with them.
You miss the way their little bodies squirm endlessly in their seats as if there were actual ants in their pants, and the way they would climb without a second thought, using your own body to hoist them up to spy and intrude and grimace at the table next to yours.
You miss the way they would affectionately plant their tiny feet on your face as you would attempt to navigate a fork into your mouth with a level of care like you were diffusing a bomb and not trying to just get food into your face hole.
Honestly, you’ll miss learning to eat with someone else’s behind in your face.
You’ll miss that opportunity to burst forward from your seat when someone else has to go to the bathroom in rapid succession but never ever at the same time.
You’ll miss fighting their fingers for the croutons on your plate, and the baited breath as you wait with a sad yet tender kind of anticipation about whether you will ever actually eat your own crouton ever again.
You’ll miss that feeling of cold water rushing onto your crotch as someone spills their drink.
You’ll miss having those chubby little fingers pry the food out of your mouth as you are literally chewing it — only for them to try it, decide they don’t like it, and then return the recently-chewed-by-someone-else food to your open mouth.
You’ll miss chugging that cheap house chardonnay like seltzer.
You’ll miss that thrill of watching them drop the crayons on the ground again and again, requiring them to climb underneath the table and roll in old restaurant filth in order to retrieve them. You’ll miss philosophizing deeply about why in the hell anyone ever made crayons round. Why do we give things that roll to tiny hands? You’ll miss the way this fatal design flaw haunts you.
You’ll miss reaching into their little Jaws-like mouths to retrieve the paper wrapper that covers the tip of their straw.
You’ll miss those little sibling arguments that anchor every meal — the he said, she saids over anything ever. The ones that ended every single time in tears, but mostly yours.
You’ll miss watching them pick their noses and making them wash their hands, and then them scratching their butts and making them wash their hands, and then them crawling on the floor and making them wash their hands until you realize you’ve washed your own hands so much that your skin actually just flakes off your body like panko crumbs.
You’ll miss scanning every menu and selecting their order first. You’ll miss sometimes even forgetting to order your own food! Honestly, sometimes it’s just so quaint to watch them eat anyway.
You’ll miss the way your table looks like some of those homes after a major weather event like a hurricane, or even a robbery. Items tossed about in a way so violent, yet oddly purposeful, that you cannot imagine a force of nature that would wreak such havoc on a place.
You’ll miss tipping more than the actual cost of the meal to make up for all of it.
Honestly, trust me, now that my little ones are fully grown I can tell you that you will miss all of these precious moments. Take them out, through all of the spills and fights and messes and chaos because I promise you will miss this, said no one ever.
I cannot stand when people say stuff like this to me. When they wistfully tell me how much I need to love every single moment of digging crouton crumbs out of my bra and someone else’s foot out of my face. And when this moment comes, as it always seems to, I’ll look at my 9-, 7-, and 3-year-olds and break out the takeout menus or the Goldfish. And I’ll mutter under my breath a true parenting gem that has stood the test of time:
Hello Dominos? I’d like to place an order for delivery.