I’m no fan of going out to eat with children in tow. There are families who can do it. There are places any family can do it, but that usually involves eating in front of an animatronic rodent. I don’t like eating in front of rodents, animatronic or otherwise, and my family isn’t one of those that sits and waits, quietly enjoying the ambiance of a grown-up establishment. I’ve heard a lot of suggestions for places that are great for families. You know why those places are great? Because we aren’t there.
When we go out to eat, the conversation never stops. Unfortunately, the context of the conversation is usually, “Sit down! Sit up! Face forward! Don’t stab your brother! Give the nice lady her dentures. Do you have to go potty? NO, NOT HERE! GO!”
Stuff like that.
But there is one place we can all go at the same time without the aid of creepy, bug-eyed, motorized mice. No playland, no toys, no music, no distractions. Just donuts.
I kid you not, when the boys walk into Dunkin Donuts, they are on a solitary mission: get donuts. They wait in line. They order themselves. They stand patiently. They sit when they’re told. They don’t get up. They respond kindly to every question asked of them. They eat every bite and make every effort not to drop a single sprinkle. They don’t push. They don’t yell. They just eat donuts.
Heather and I? We breathe. And also eat donuts, which is nice too.
I don’t care if it takes longer to eat there. I don’t care if the food is bad for us. I don’t care about anything when we’re in Dunkin Donuts other than the fact that my sons behave impeccably from the moment they set foot in the parking lot. On even the worst day, it’s a guaranteed moment of tranquility. You don’t pass those up if you can get ’em.
Once we leave and the sugar rush sets in, the ironclad fortress of peace and harmony becomes a delicate bubble, but for those few minutes, we’re a family who can eat out. Yes, I know Dunkin Donuts is not eating out. It’s just a place we can pretend we’re not all-out loco.