Out of Place

An accidental fancy dinner with young kids.

It was my turn to pick out a dinner spot. I did my due diligence and yelped the heck out of our options. I picked a French restaurant that was very well reviewed and off we headed.

Chad and I have very different styles of making decisions. I spend about 2 minutes in total researching different options and then I go with my best educated guess. Chad spends weeks, months, if not YEARS, researching different options, reading extensive reviews, talking to people, and trying things out. We noticed this difference very quickly when we renovated our first home together, just months into our marriage. On the record, I will not say that one style is better than the other. But off the record, I would concede and say that Chad’s style always ends in better results. I’m just too lazy to do the full amount of work that he puts into decision making.

The first sign that my restaurant choice may not have been the best is when the host asked “Can I help you?” Well obviously, we came for dinner. My eyes darted around the restaurant. Oh no. White tablecloths. Candles. Wine glasses already on tables. The restaurant was full, but it was so….how do I best put this? QUIET. My gaze returned to our motley crew. Chad per usual was in golf attire, I was in my obnoxiously pink leggings and a running top, and best of all, Avery was wearing her T-shirt that has a puppy and kitty wearing sun glasses. (Alice actually looked decent).

The host sullenly led us to a table. After we were seated, Chad shot me “the look”. He had a crazy look in his eyes and his mouth twitched as he tried to suppress a smile. This is the same look he gave me when I set up an interview for a nanny potential at our home; shortly after she arrived we learned that she was homeless. My bad.

It was a stressful meal. Of course there was no kids menu at this classy place, and definitely no crayons and paper. Alice took off her diaper so casually that I didn’t figure it out until I saw a wet diaper sitting next to me. She contributed to conversation with, “ ‘Scuse me, I burped” and “WHY IS THERE A SPIDER IN HERE?” in her yelling voice. The waiter wondered if the (super nice) water glasses would be appropriate for the girls? I confirmed that unless he liked cleaning up broken glass, this would be a bad idea. The girls feasted on a caprese salad (the closest thing to a kid friendly meal they had). And by feasted, I mean, they ate all the tomatoes and decided they didn’t like the rest. I supplemented the rest of the meal with the orange tic tacs I keep in my bag for emergency situations such as these.

If you’ve ever moved, changed jobs, or experienced a first day at a new school, you have probably experienced a similar moment. It’s that feeling of, “I am so out of place here”. It is never a fun feeling to experience, but I’ve found that it usually means I am on the right track to adjusting. To feel “in place” or like “these are my people” we have to jump out of our comfort zones and try new things. It may not immediately lead us to a feeling of belonging, but it will bring us a step closer.

Here is to trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone, and finding your spot. May you find your people and your places. May you have the humor to laugh off the awkward moments and the grace to be kind to others when they might be experiencing such a moment.

And for now, we will be dining at McDonalds- the ones with a happy place.



By Laura Onstot

My New Year's Resolution is to eat Oreos and take a nap every day. So far, the year is off to a strong start.

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