Last night Bill and I graciously attended the retirement dinner for the county's Medical Program Director. It was a semi-formal shindig with lots of professionals and notable presenters. There were hors d'ourves, a drink bar, and a $30 plate meal with a rich chocolatey dessert. I saw it as a free date (note the emphasis on free) without the kids. We had a wonderful time and I enjoyed mingling with Bill's coworkers.
My interest in the whole affair started to wane, however, when a few of the presenters took more time with their comments. Just being honest, though, it wasn't the length of their speeches. It was the caffeine. My midwife told me to cut out coffee and caffeine drinks but when Bill brought me a coke with ice from the bar it was so good and refreshing. Then later, during dessert, the coffee carafe was being passed around like the legal stimulant it is and my resolve just withered.
After the effects of the coke and the coffee took effect, I started feeling a little restless and I started passing notes to Bill. Okay, I will be truthful about this as well. We pass notes in church during the service, now and then. It keeps me from blurting out my thoughts and I am less likely to become a distraction by fidgeting or getting up. Basically it prevents me from being obnoxious. So we passed notes during the final speech and it wasn't a problem.
While all of this was going on I watched the kids who had been dragged along to accompany their parents. One girl was playing with her little plastic cup of ice left over from a Roy Rogers drink and crunching noisily on the hard cold chunks. Her brother was splaying himself on their mother's side draping his limbs dangerously close to the half-eaten chocolatey creamy dessert. At another table a very impeccably dressed trio of two girls in dresses and a boy in a suit and tie were waiting for their mother, the Master of Ceremonies, to call the whole thing quits so they could shed their restricting attire and play on their trampoline or some other more age-appropriate activity. At that very moment I wished I could have walked over like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, grabbed their hands and taken them over to a nearby hill and ran through dandelions or played tag. It was not to be, however, and I could only empathize with their bridled energy.
From that moment on I wanted to be at home eating pizza with our kids, watching Lyle the Kindly Viking, and wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt. I would still be reaching for the soda and coffee, though, and not feeling like I needed to pass notes either.