We made another trip down to Los Angeles to attend the temple and stay the night at the Temple Patron Apartments. Our kids seem to never tire of the “amenities” the building has to offer: removable couch cushions for stacking and climbing on, deep closets for hiding in, a pull-out bed for creating a fort, plus the balcony with a sliding glass door. We’re glad they find the accommodations comfortable.
Usually, we bring a frozen pizza to cook in the oven of the apartment we’re renting but we decided to take a family outing to Pitfire Pizza for dinner instead. It was something I’d been craving.
It was 5PM and well before the dining rush hour, but the place was already busy. So busy that the entire stock of high chairs at the restaurant, which only totaled four anyway, were completely occupied. We scanned the room for a place to sit that would be easiest to hold Jake and Joe while we also tried to eat.
While Colin and I were debating the options, Warren and Maddie had parked themselves at one of those chic, extremely high tables with extremely high stools. Yes, stools with no backs and young children (read: Maddie) don’t seem like a good combination so we tried to nix the idea. But the table happened to be right next to the pizza making station (the kitchen is open for all to see) and they begged to stay put.
The situation seemed like a disaster in the making. Like the kind of experience where we’d swear off ever bringing our children to any dining establishment again until they were 18. No high chairs, so we’d have to hold the babies to feed them while simultaneously trying to use forks to shovel in our own food. No backing on the seats just begged for a 2-year-old, who doesn’t sit still in a regular chair to save her life, to fall right off on her head. Plus the culinary display was sure to distract my children from ever eating the gourmet pizza we were purchasing.
Colin was ready to regroup at another table. A booth. More sensible for a family of six, no? But their disappointment was so great, I told him whatever. I said just that, “Whatever,” in defeated irritation, sure that it was going to be awful. At least we would have Grilled Steak Salad, Pepperoni Pizza, Farfalle with Sausage and Greens, and their seasonal Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Pizza to get us through. We sat and I expected the worst.
But something incredible happened. Call it a miracle. Everything was just fine. No, more than that. Everything was easy. We held the boys and fed them bits of pasta and they didn’t even spit it out. Maddie sat so well on her stool, she didn’t even move an inch, plus she never stabbed anyone (read: Warren) with her adult-sized metal fork. Warren didn’t even whine once about anything.
And I just sat there and breathed it all in. My well-behaved kids, fascinated by the dough flipping in the air and the steady hands of the pizza makers. The autumn sunlight, dipping lower down until the ambiance lighting began to take over the room and the window shades were no longer needed. The cadent sounds of distant conversations and the muted tinkling of utensils scraping plates blending perfectly with the grooving music we couldn’t help but bop our heads a little to while hearing. Sharing the last fantastic bites of sausage with Colin as we finished our meal satisfied.
I smiled knowing that this was small. Just a blip on our family timeline. One dinner together in one pizza joint on one October evening. It was a moment that would pass quickly, but I was going to take notice and enjoy it for as long as I could. Because isn’t it those little things that we are to treasure up until one day we realize that they were the best things?
That’s what I thought, anyway, as I looked at my family at that moment. And I was happy.