So, let me begin by expressing my need to come to you, my friends, in confession of yet more of my fallacies. I feel I owe some penance, seeing as how I have managed to go a ridiculously long time without writing (not a global tragedy, I know, but still….), thus once again proving how easily distracted I am and how much I suck at my whole “word of the year” thing – that word being discipline. Um, yeah….not so much.
Summer just throws me off completely. The constant lack of structure and changes to daily schedules makes my brain hurt and leaves me, at times, incapable of rational thought. On the flip side, we are having an incredible fun-filled and active summer season, so there’s that.
For example, last week, Gregg and I got to have an impromptu date night – on a Tuesday! I wasn’t as fascinated by the day of the week as much as he was, but he kept saying, “It’s a Tuesday evening,” so I thought it merited mentioning. Maybe there’s a marriage or date night clause of which I am unaware stating what an exceptional circumstance this is. He may know something I don’t here. If any of you are aware of such a distinction, please feel free to enlighten me. I’m always up for learning something new.
Back to Tuesday Date Night.
Both boys were unexpectedly invited to last-minute sleepovers at friends’ houses, so I called my parents, wrangled a grandparent slumber party invite for the Bug, and texted Gregg to be ready for a date night extravaganza (ok, I didn’t use exactly those words – he rolls his eyes at overly-flowery phrasing, and let’s face it, extravaganza sets the bar a bit high for a week night dinner date……unless it’s in Paris. Then extravaganza is exactly the right word, don’t you think?). We got all the dependents to their respective locations, changed clothes (I even wore a dress), and headed to a lovely local restaurant downtown. It’s one of those places we rarely go because, well, kids. After a few stuttering starts at attempted conversation (it always takes us a few minutes to warm up and get going in the cadence of normal adult conversation. We’re so used to all of the start/stop interruptions and distractions that it takes us a few tries to string together multiple complete sentences. Sometimes, I just stop talking in the middle of a story, like there’s a phantom interruption. Which, to be honest, I don’t think is a real thing. Like phantom limb pain – that’s a real thing. It is, trust me. My thing is probably just more proof that my attention span is ridiculously lacking….a fact made more obvious when there are no children around to blame).
That may be the single most ridiculous rabbit trail of my life…..I apologize. Especially to any phantom limb pain sufferers. I really wasn’t trying to be flippant.
And now I’m lost. Oh….dinner conversation. Hang in there. I promise I have a point. Or at least an end to the story.
We were thoroughly enjoying our evening out – drinks, appetizers, a bubbly waitress named Candy (I jest not – she was delightful, even though I couldn’t stop singing under my breath, “My name is Candy and I taste so sweet; you get a cavity each time we meet…” Anyone? Other children of the 80’s and 90’s? Anyone at all?). I even held on to enough self-control to order salad instead of steak smothered in blue cheese (discipline finally kicking in). Not only did I order salad, but I chose to forgo the dressing and just asked for lemon slices. My self-control knew no bounds. Then came the hiccup. Candy looked at me with the sweetest (ha!), most helpful expression and asked, “Is lime ok?” She stood there, pen poised above her tablet, anticipating my affirmative response, ready to bounce back to the kitchen and place our simple order.
So, now I had a quandary. Because lime is actually not ok.
It’s not the same, not really, and if I had wanted lime on my salad I would have asked for it. Just like on the rare occasions I order a Coke, I want a Coke….and, no, Pepsi won’t work. And when I introduce myself as Rebecca, that’s my name. The one I answer to and have my whole life. So, no, you may not call me Becky (I’m always surprised when people ask this. It makes no sense. Do you want people to substitute for your name?).
I sat, mentally arguing with myself. Do I refuse the lime substitution? Do I change my order to a less healthy dressing choice? Do I forget the whole salad thing and order the steak? Or do I just settle for something I didn’t really choose, accepting it this time, thus making Candy’s job easier and preventing any more time out of date night conversation? This particular restaurant does not have lemons, something I learned on a Girls’ Night a couple of years ago (and actually still get made fun of for when someone remembers it, because that time I did make it a hill to die on, engaging in the Unacceptable Substitutions lecture with our poor waitress that night), I had just forgotten that fact since we hadn’t eaten there in so long (which, now that I think about it, may have been intentional on the part of my girlfriends or the restaurant itself, given the intensity of my lemon tantrum. If memory serves, I think one of them actually ended up popping down the street to the store to sneak lemons in to me. Not one of my best moments, I am aware.).
You’ll be relieved (or perhaps bored) to know I took the road less argued this particular evening. I smiled pleasantly, nodded at Candy, and decided I could survive a lime-sprinkled salad for once. It’s date night, after all. On a Tuesday. Why rock the boat?
How many times have we dealt with the substitution crossroads? Have you had those days? Those times when you had your heart set on something, or your path set a certain direction, and time or circumstances or people derailed you with an offer of something….less, and the expectation that it should be ok. Sometimes, we need to bend, and to give someone else’s suggestion the priority. But other times….. There are hills to die on and expectations we should hang on to no matter what. There are days when the search for the genuine trumps a surrogate every time, and when generic isn’t going to cut it. Our hearts beat for true love, joy and fulfillment, and nothing else will do. Our souls are made for legitimate relationship – with Father, with others who have a positive presence and with intimacy that cannot be faked…..not for long, anyway. Our hope is built and our faith holds strong when we refuse to settle for imitations or seek counterfeit comfort.
Candy skipped off to the kitchen, pleased with uncomplicated table service. I was a little disappointed, but also proud of my decision to be an adult and accommodating. I looked across the table at my handsome husband, and before I could speak, he lifted his hands up, shrugged his shoulders and said, “What’s that about? Why do they assume lemons and limes are interchangeable? I mean, it’s like Pepsi and Coke. Not the same. Not the same at all….” Followed by, “You should write a blog about this, babe. Seriously. Lemons vs limes and all the annoying substitution attempts out there.”
I fell in love with him all over again. Just when I think he can’t surprise me…..BAM! The power of Tuesday Date Night manifests. He totally gets me.
Plus, it’s the first time he’s ever weighed in on a blog. So, naturally, I was inclined to acquiesce to his request. Please tell me someone got that reference.
Solidarity, sisters. Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.