A couple of Sundays ago, after Mass, we went out to lunch with a few other families from our parish. Our priest came along, as well. I think there were something like 20+ people, and the adults were far outnumbered here! We went to an Indian buffet, which is really indifferent to this story, but it was SO good! If you've never had authentic Indian food, you should...kind of spicy for the kids, though (and I have Cajun kids, so that's actually saying something). Anyway, the restaurant pulled a few square tables together, and we were ready to get seated. Since Rachel was in need of a high chair, that limited me to one of the end seats, since it was easiest to put the high chair at one of the corners of the table. It ended up working out that I sat next to Father, with the high chair between us (he sat at the head of the table). Now, while I didn't exactly knock everyone over to try and sit by the 'guest of honor', and I would have happily sat at the complete opposite end of the table, I will shamefully admit that my pride kicked in, and I did feel a tad privileged to get to sit next to him during the meal. I should also mention that my pride was on a bit of a high from a comment that my OB doctor made to my neighbor about how well-behaved my kids were when we last went for a visit, so I was expecting quite a lovely performance out of them. Before you start judging, wait...I do, in fact, get that 'lovely performance.' And, I should clarify that the time my doctor was referring to was the time that my kids were only acting so well because they were under the bribery of Frosties, if they were capable of not making a single peep during said doctor's visit. So, here we are...at the restaurant...Father at the head of the table, then Rachel in her high chair, then me, then Andrew next to me. Phil was several seats down (in the middle of the table, locked in by several people on each side of him), and Natalie was across the table, situated somewhere between Phil and me, next to her friends, but *just* out of ear shot of both Phil and me. NEVER a good move...I don't know what we were thinking. Actually, my pride was thinking, so that's what that was about. Anyway, I should also mention that the chairs at this restaurant are darn near impossible to get out of without climbing out of them (I was on the side of the table that was against the wall, so there was no room to back the chair up so that I could properly get my 8 month pregnant self out). That made for an interesting experience in and of itself. It also meant that I had to climb out of that stupid chair every time I wanted to get more food (which added up to a total of about a million times, since it was easier for me to get out than Phil, since he was both in the middle and situated against the wall). So, here we go...the fun really begins now. Phil and I finally get all the kids situation with the blandest thing we can find on the buffet, which was this AWESOME jasmine rice and these tasty little fried potato thingies - no, not French fries - and, of course, the kids didn't really like anything we put on their plate...go figure). For most of the meal, Natalie is fine...she's sitting down, happily chatting with her friends. Rachel, however, doesn't really want to sit in her chair...she wants to climb out..."no, Rachel...SIT DOWN." Then, she proceeds to bang on the table with a spoon (loudly). I take that from her...she yells in response. I calm her down, and she tries to feed Father her rice: "no, thank you, Rachel...he doesn't want your food." Then she tries to give him a sip of her water. Then she attempts to demand that I give her a knife O_o. She also continuously tries to lift the table cloth...maybe to play peek-a-boo??...I have no idea. She tries to climb out again, and yells to my strapping her in *polite smile at Father*. I'm sweating now. In the meantime, Andrew is on the other side of me, complaining about his belly ache - after Mass, he ate somewhere around 2,467 of those little, white, powdered doughnuts they serve. He reminds me about every 5 minutes that his belly hurts, and that he'd like some ice cream: "no, you may NOT have ice cream...now, SIT STILL and be quiet! Drink some water...it'll help." Then, Andrew starts getting upset because "is Natalie getting ice cream? Because, if Natalie gets some, I want some toooooo!" Gah! "no, Andrew, no ice cream for anyone! Now, hush and sit still so your belly will feel better." Then, he really lets me have it...he finally states, loudly (is there really any other way?!): "I HAVE TO GO POO!" As far as I know, Father didn't even hear him say that...and, if he did, he made no indication whatsoever that he did...the man is a saint, and gives phenomenal homilies on top of that! I've actually already
climbed gotten out of my chair 2 or 3 times to take Natalie to the bathroom (first to take off her stockings - they were itching...really bad! -, and once for her to actually use the facilities). This is in addition to the multiple other times I get up to obtain food for myself or one of the kids various times throughout lunch. PHEW! Is this meal ever going to end?! It's a good thing the food was excellent, otherwise it just would not have been worth it. The whole time, something about 'not choosing the best seats at the table' keeps running through my mind. By the end of the meal, Natalie begins to get restless, and is sitting UNDERNEATH the table!!! Rachel is climbing all over my lap trying to bang her spoon on the table and feed Father her cup of water again. Luckily, Andrew is just calmly sitting in his chair...or, maybe I made him go sit with Phil...I can't remember...oh wait, now I remember. He's sitting at a completely different table than the one we are all at! Please don't ask me how that happened. On the plus side, I did get to learn a few nuggets of interesting details about Father's life during the course of lunch. He's been a priest for around 32 years (I think...don't quote me on that exact number), and he went into the seminary right after high school. He knew he wanted to become a priest when he was 17! I just love that. I also learned that sometimes, that little thing called 'control' is *just* out of reach, no matter how much you want to grasp it. I think this Advent, I will try and pray for a deeper trust in Christ, the ability to put into His hands those things that I can't control, and to joyfully accept those things that I can't force to happen the way I (aka my pride) prefer.
Like I said, I can't say that I wasn't warned:
"7 And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: 8 When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than thou be invited by him: 9 And he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee, Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee, cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee. 11 Because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted." Luke 14:7-11