Last night, spur of the moment, we all went out to dinner. It wasn't a super-fancy, white tablecloth place, but it also wasn't some fast food joint, either. (Archie wanted steak, so it was kind of a relaxed steakhouse, I guess.)
If, eight years ago, someone had told me that we would get out of the door in under 10 minutes with three children, no tears (on the part of the children or the adults), and then have a delightful time with those kids, I would have laughed until I cried. Because eight years ago, I could not even imagine that I wouldn't still be changing diapers and breastfeeding and getting up several times a night. Perspective is not a gift that is given to first-time parents. Every day seems like every other day and it is hard think that those babies will grow up and become real people who do amazingly complex things like read a menu (!), order their own food, and have pleasant, volume-appropriate conversation. And where the parents get to actually enjoy their food! No rushing, or boxing up most of two dinners. It's like a freaking Christmas miracle.
Actually, it's just real life, since the girls have been behaving so beautifully out in public for quite some time. But it still sometimes surprises me. Last night, Lou was leaning slightly against me and telling me something about the book she's reading as she took a piece of bread and reached to dunk it in some artichoke dip. I noticed a man sitting across the way, eating by himself, who was kind of watching us, and I thought about how we must appear to strangers at that moment. Relaxed, enjoying each other, Archie and I and our squirrels looking pretty near perfect.
And at that moment, we were. And those moments are worth the times that aren't perfection. There are still plenty of those, too. But we know they won't last forever, now.