In any case, when we arrived I immediately went inside to secure a table while my wife handled the exchange AND our two boys (7 and 5 respectively). Again my motive wasn’t that altruistic because I did have a thirst for a cold beer and standing outside in the humidity didn’t quite fit the mood. So in I went where I was politely greeted and escorted to a comfortable booth in the back. Very shortly after I was seated by the hostess, the waitress came and introduced herself. She proceeded to lay out the menus and take my drink order (4 waters for the table plus 2 beers, 1 for the wife and one for me). And YES, we earned those beers! After all, it was a long week and at last count the boys’ hand all fingers and toes intact and the lady and I were still sleeping in the same bed together (counting even the smallest of victories is important sometimes).
So while sipping my frosty beverage and enjoying a moment of solitude while the rest of the crew was still outside, I came to the conclusion that I was going to order a salad! I know, I know… you don’t order the steak at a seafood restaurant and you probably don’t order a salad at a burger joint. Crap, if you’re a man at all you probably don’t order the salad. HOWEVER, I just recently re-introduced myself to the fitness world and I feel like I’ve been making some decent progress. Of course if you’ve been reading any of the HotGreenMama posts you likely know that my wife has been doing an admirable job of keeping herself healthy despite the demands that a young family can put on even the strongest of wills; so I guess her choices are rubbing off on me too. And while I made my decision, I still needed a strategy to ensure I didn’t change my mind. My strategy to make certain I would follow through with the salad concept was to never again look at the menu. Nope, never again prior to ordering, because I knew that even one tiny peek at the double stacked burger loaded with bacon and cheese would mean immediate re-consideration. Although, if you’ve been following me at all, you know I have another Ace in the Hole when it comes to the food…
So the family finally comes to the table and my wife gifts me a delicate smile for the adult beverage that greets her arrival. At this point everyone is hungry and after the boys’ and my wife quickly scan the menu they are ready to order. The attractive woman across from me orders a bun-less avocado burger (no surprise there), while my 7 year old goes with the adult cheese burger complete with lettuce, tomato, onion and a side of broccoli (not too surprising here either because he typically goes with the healthier side choice – rarely will he even drink a soda), but her comes my Ace in the Hole! Yup, that would be my 5 year old who could consume the entire contents inside Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and then ask, “What’s for dessert”? He is a slam dunk and part of the reason I am ordering a salad. Why is he part of the reason for the salad concept you ask? Because my boy is going to order fries, and the fries at this place are endless, so who do you think is going to help him eat all that tasty fried goodness? ME… of course! So now the waitress comes to him and asks, “would you like fries with that…”, but to my astonishment he replies, “No thank you, can I get the broccoli please”? WHAT?!?!?!?! Immediately the questions mount in my head like, where is my son, what just happened, am I losing my hearing, etc…? Now instead of doing what my heart wanted, which was to scream out “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO”, I quickly collected myself, mustered up my indoor voice and re-engaged back into the wonderful goofiness that this particular table provides.
Until now, I have never spoken about this horrible and personal injustice.
After dinner and as we drive home I glance over at the attractive girl from dinner that ordered the bun-less avocado burger and conclude that she is the one to blame. Of course, why didn’t this come to me sooner, like at the dinner table-booth thingy? After all she has very subtly been teaching our boys about healthy food, and why healthy food is important for their bodies. I have also watched as she takes the boys out to our very small garden; talking to them about what vegetables we are growing and fielding questions as to how big they might get or what they might taste like. I swear at one point our 5 year old would have been more terrified of eating a tomato then being eaten by a shark, until he helped Mom grow them (not sharks, the tomatoes… stay focused). Now he won’t just eat them but he’ll actually ask for them.
So as I selfishly kept trying to figure out exactly why I didn’t end up with fries that night, I inadvertently came to the conclusion that our boys have one hell of a coach. After all, every successful team needs a good coach/front office manager/owner; someone who takes time to study the game, to understand that each player is their own individual with different dreams, someone who will do their best to equip their players with the right tools to be successful, but also a person who will call them out when they aren’t performing, while having the presence of mind to understand when they’ve had enough for one day. But most interesting was to witness that when 1 leads by example, you’ll get at least 3 people to follow. HEY, I did end up getting the salad didn’t I!
As a final note and so that you don’t walk away thinking we’ve turned all sugar-free vegan on you, I will let you know that this Saturday night our boys will still put together a full blown campaign demanding that “Doughnut Sunday” be a weekly tradition and not monthly. But hey, Doughnuts or not, I’ll sleep well knowing their Mama has already instilled in them some sound qualities that will prove valuable down the road.