I thought we'd take my word "embrace" for a spin Friday night. We had no hockey- nodda- zip-zilch- we practically didn't know what to do with ourselves.
But with one remaining gift card leftover from Christmas, we decided to embrace the moment and go out for dinner. We purposefully chose a restaurant the boys have never been to- Doolittles. I knew it was the right choice the instant they seated us in the cozy back addition. It was warm and candle-lit and had such an ambient glow everywhere I looked.
We indulged. We had walleye strips for appetizers. Nolan polished off most of them. His appetite is unquenchable most days. Even when the bread came encrusted with herbs all the way around the crust, he didn't blink. He took a few bites, and deemed it awesome.
Ever mindful of the word "embrace" hovering over, I savored every moment. The boys were engaged and enthusiastic about dinner. We happily talked about some of the other places we've eaten and where we'd like to go in the future.
You see... we've stopped going out to eat very often at all. It was always so convenient and we enjoyed the food. But when we truly looked at the amount we spent on eating out, it was staggering. It was such a natural way for us to cut back and save money.
I'll be the first to admit I was reluctant. It sure puts more pressure on me to meal plan and keep the pantry and fridge stocked. But I realized we were always trying to convince the kids they were "lucky" to be going out to eat- when really we hadn't taught them at all what its like NOT to go out to eat.
Friday night, I noticed there was an appreciation on all of our parts. The boys were eager to try new tastes and flavors. We were all mindful of the experience of eating dinner together. Nolan was even talkative and shared with us the idea his team has for a restaurant called "Frischy's." Nolan was stoked the team thought he'd make a great waiter... and we all laughed at the humor employed in the rest of the roles assigned to his team mates.
The spell cast on us by the great food and cozy atmosphere was broken when we walked through the door of our house. Nolan and Colton started bickering, the dog wanted attention, and the disarray of the house rose up to meet us.
But as I went to "embrace" Nolan and say good night, he melted into me for just a minute. "Thank you for dinner mom, it was really good."
This, I realize, is part of the reason I felt inclined to choose "embrace." I naturally hesitate sometimes when "new" and "different" approach- but I am convinced its leaning into those very times, going into the center of them, that produces the unexpected joy and the unforeseen gifts.