Susan's Blog

Monday, January 11, 2016

Not Perfect, But Very Good

Last Saturday night I did not want to cook. I had been good all week, making stupid boring dinner every single day — well not Tuesday, okay, pizza (salad for me) — but I was just lusting for dinner out. Dieting all day. All week. All year. We settled on Cheesecake Factory, can’t be too fancy with Ben and Nat. Cheesecake Factory is middle ground. Large, comfortable seats, fairly interesting psuedo-Egyptian-Southwestern theme going on. No weird smells, food’s always good.

We got there and it was a 50 minute wait that became an hour. We were so hungry, and standing around the mall with the vibrating alarm in hand, waiting for it to come to life. Everyone else hanging around was waiting, too. It was weird — they were all so friendly, and relaxed, and so were we. One family was taking up most of the seating but my knee was killing me, and when the dad got up, I sat down, smiling and apologizing. No problem. Then an old man with a cane came over and I got up. “You sure, Dear?” he asked. So sweet.

By the time we sat down, Weight Watchers had become Wait Watchout in my head. I did not care. I ate and ate. Nothing was bothering me. Ben was happy. Nat was into it. He looked at the menu and said, “Pasta.” As soon as the waitress came over and asked about drinks, he said, “Sprite.” It was just perfect.

We even had a shared enemy — the woman behind us. She was puffed up with Restylane, and her entitled teenage girls were brats, off shopping while their dinner was coming. Who cares, really, but it gave us something to laugh about. The girls even lost the mom’s charge card. “I don’t know!” they screamed. “Well go back and retrace your steps!” the mom yelled, exasperated. We just kept smiling smugly at each other. My boys are so great, I thought. They never shop. Ha ha. Just me.

It was nice to be Mrs. Obnoxious with my grown-up, well-behaved sons. It’s unusual. Often I envy the other tables, families with three little girls, for God’s sake. No, I don’t want girls but they just look so pretty and perfect. My boys are scruffy, big men. Gloriously male. But jeez, how did I get so old?

Well, perfection is only a dream. The false note came when Nat wanted another Sprite and Ned countermanded it. He interrupted and told the waitress no, treating Nat like a child. Okay, Ned is his father and does have to protect Nat to keep him healthy, but still — Nat is 26. I whispered to Ned: “Next time talk to Nat about how it’s probably too much sugar, suggest water, rather than speaking for him.” Ned nodded. “He’s a man, after all,” I said. “You wouldn’t do that to Max.” Inside I burned for Nat being patronized, even by his loving father.

Later that night I had a dream that Ned was making Nat eat a potato, uncooked. I told Ned the next morning and said that I didn’t like how the Sprite incident had gone, and the dream was about that.

The sad thing or maybe the happy thing is that Nat moves on. Is it because he’s used to being told what to do, or is it because he’s not oversensitive like me?

Well, there’s always a spot that mars the perfect surface in this life. So sometimes you just have to fix the hurts with treats. That’s what I do. Food = love in my sweet family. And when it came time for dessert, I insisted we get the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake and a coconut chocolate cheesecake, dammit. Forkful after forkful of the creamy sweetness, your teeth sink in just right. Let it spread like frosting over your dear heart, my Nat. And Ned, who probably felt bad about what he’d done.

I didn’t even feel sick after. It was just enough — too much is always enough.

I don’t know, the outing was just so unexpected. Usually Ben doesn’t want to go, Nat is sloppy and eats too fast. Ned gets grumpy waiting for the check. I get stressed out about which is the least fattening entree. I then order the wrong thing.

Not this time. We just went in as ourselves — and it was as (almost) as smooth as that cake.


I love the unexpected surprise of an event gone well, they seem to be happening more and more often as the kids get older (or maybe it’s just me finally relaxing more). So glad you had your night, here’s hoping for many more (and a lot more cheesecake!)

— added by kim mccafferty on Monday, January 11, 2016 at 1:52 pm

🙂 Thank you!

— added by Susan Senator on Monday, January 11, 2016 at 2:31 pm

There was a time we couldn’t even dream of taking our autistic kids to a restaurant. Now we can!

— added by Laura on Monday, January 11, 2016 at 7:45 pm

I have been trying hard to ‘adult’ my boys even though they are still 14 (severe ASD) and 16 (normal-ish). Choices are hard to make on your own and you need to learn how. Both school’s get this… Their Father, not so much.

I think it’s a “Dad/Male” thing. Frustrating though, because my 14yr old has a terrible time making choices (and using his words) because he’s use to them being done for him so it’s rare for him to choose, and the 16yr old still looks to the adult for the “ok” and I try hard not to give it.

Glad you had a great outing.

— added by farmwifetwo on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 8:44 am

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