Lesson 1: Everyone is the boss of their own salad
We were sitting at lunch at a Greek restaurant when Friend A announced that we all be sharing the Greek Salad. Friend B said, "You two go ahead, but I'm going to have the chicken. I don't like Greek Salad."
Friend A: "How could you not like Greek Salad? It's delicious. What could you possibly not like about it?"
B: "I don't like the Greek and I don't like the Salad."
A: "I can't believe this. We've been eating lunch together for years, and I never knew you don't like salad. How could you not like Greek Salad? It's got cucumbers, tomatoes, oregano?"
B: "I don't like feta cheese, I don't like cucumbers, I have texture issues with tomatoes and oregano is my least favorite herb."
A (comprimisingly): "Well how about if we order it, and you can just pick out what you want?"
B (rolling her eyes): "That will leave me with a few black olives for lunch. Yum."
By the time you are old enough to have lunch in a restaurant with your friends, you are old enough to know whether or not you like Greek Salad. No one has the right to tell you where to sit, what to drink, what to order, and what to put on your salad. Friend B could have gone along with the food sharing plan to avoid a scene, but she would have been doing herself a disservice. It is your right to order something else even if everyone else is sharing a Greek Salad.
Lesson 2: It's OK if things are not perfect for Your children
We took the kids for a weeknight dinner out. B immediately decided he HAD to have the 16oz steak, mashed and Caesar off the adults' menu. T pulled out her rosary and said a few Hail Marys because we were letting her have deep fried chicken fingers, fries and ketchup. And G, well, G ordered the Greek Salad.
A few bites into it, he looked up at me and said "Mom, there are two things I don't like in this salad. Feta cheese and olives with hard stuff in the middle."
(What is with people and Greek Salad ingredients this week?)
"Mmmmm," I say non-committally.
He continued to eat his way through the salad, picking out the cheese and the olives and putting them on the side of his plate. He may or may not have stolen a few fries off the chicken finger plate but I ain't no narc.
And you know what happened in the end? Nothing. He totally survived. We didn't offer him the chance to order something else. We didn't pick the olives out for him. We didn't tell him he had to finish or no dessert. We all just sat and ate our dinner, colored on the paper placemats, had our coffees and went home.
Lesson 3: Sometimes the best part of a conversation is the last two minutes
My father in law was out for dinner with us. Nothing goes down with an Old Fashioned Smoked Meat Sandwich like half eaten Greek Salad, so we offered him the remainder of G's plate. He had a few bites, we chatted.
Husband and B left for the gym. Father in law picked at the salad, we chatted some more.
The other two kids were playing Houdini with my work ID lanyard. Even Father in law at this point has had enough cheese, and is picking feta out of the salad, but still enjoying the cukes, tomatoes, olives.
Finally, as he took the last few bites of salad and pushed the plate away, conversation came around to the cruise he was just on.
Apparently, they had great activities after dinner.
And one of the activities was a Sexy Legs contest. Which all table mates on the cruise insisted my Father in Law enter. And which he grudgingly agreed to do, if only to oblige his friends. And yes, which he won. My father in law. Sexy Legs. On a Cruise.
And I would have heard nothing about it if it weren't for the Greek Salad.
It's amazing the lessons the universe wants to teach us if we just open our eyes.