We did it today. We went to a restaurant with the entire group, and it was not a disaster.
We rarely go to real restaurants with wait staff these days. It’s just… a lot. A lot of loading kids, stuff, sippy cups, diapers, etc. A lot of worrying about whether the babies will sit still in the high chairs, whether the big girls will fall off their chairs and spill their drinks. A lot of dealing with stares, unplanned interactions, etc. When we take the whole group out, we have to be ready. We have to bring our game faces and our A-game. We have to be ready to pick up sippy cups 13 times. Ready to deal with the spills. Ready to deal with the attention that we inevitably invite (which, as an aside, I totally understand).
This morning, after a decent night of sleep for everyone, I was feeling READY. I felt like we could bring our A-game. So I floated the idea by Seth, who agreed. So, at 7:15, I started telling the biggies to get dressed and get ready. I started changing the babies. Change a diaper, put on clothes, find shoes(oh sweet Jesus where do all the shoes go all the time?). Repeat three times. And then repeat again when the babies poop because they always wait for a clean diaper to poop. At about 8:30 we were all ready—hair brushed, clothes on, shoes on. And we were off.
And magically, this morning the stars were aligned. There was no wait. The restaurant was relatively empty. We had a fabulous waitress. The big girls sat nicely on their chairs and helped entertained the babies. Everyone ate their food. Abby waved at every single person who walked by. Libby and Ruby stared at every single person who walked by (more another day on their different little personalities). We felt the usual stares, but we kept on keeping on. A sweet triplet grandma came by and told us how blessed we were. Miraculously, no one cried.
And, all things considered, breakfast out was a big success. When this happens, and we manage to go out with the whole group without many disasters, I see glimpses of our life before the triplets. A life where we were very spontaneous and would pick up and go on a moment’s notice. We took unplanned trips to New Orleans. We even once drove to Disney overnight. In short, we made plans on the fly and usually everything turned out ok. That lack of spontaneity is probably the biggest adjustment for me with the triplets’ arrival, and it’s one that I still grapple with.
I think my spontaneity is a trait I inherited from my dad. When we were kids, we’d go camping on barrier islands after just a few hours’ notice. (Can you imagine? Taking six kids out on a boat to go camping on an island where there is nothing and no one else? We did that regularly). We took a spontaneous trip to Disney on more than one occasion. New adventures were always within reach; everything seemed possible.
Fast forward to the present, when I equate an unplanned breakfast outing with adventure and spontaneity. But, that’s the season of life we’re in right now. And soon enough, we’ll be able to pick up and go more easily. With two babies walking, it has already gotten easier. When they’re all out of diapers, it will be easier. When they can each walk holding a biggie’s hand, it will also be easier. But for now, we will just keep on keeping on with the chaos, testing the waters with small outings like today. It is getting easier. I can see it. I can feel it. And as it does, I look forward to bigger adventures like trips to Disney, etc., though it’s unlikely we’ll ever go camping on the beach. Until then, I’ll have to settle for breakfast at a restaurant. But maybe next time we’ll try dinner….