To the Family Who Paid for Our Breakfast: What You Didn’t See

We just got home from an incredible breakfast at Great Hill Maples in Newmarket, NH. It was enjoyable for many reasons. The warm fire, delicious food, great service, but primarily because our nearly one year old daughter was filled with smiles, claps and waves. For anyone who has ever dined out with little ones, you know how rare and magical this is. Dining with babies in restaurants can be really hard! To the family who paid for our breakfast, here’s what you didn’t see.

To the family who paid for our breakfast, here's what you didn't see

Let me set the scene, we were seated across from another couple with a young daughter, just 18 months old. Many of you know, at this age they are filled with curiosity, are on the move and do not like to be seated.

This little girl was expressing herself as all children do and while it wasn’t disruptive to us, we could see how uncomfortable her parents were.

Out of instinct, I reached into our endless bag of tricks and offered up some puffs, a book and some stickers. Keeping kids busy at a restaurant is now a priority for me! The couple looked at me in shock, full of sheer gratitude. The goodies worked their magic and they were able to enjoy a bit of their hot food after it arrived from the kitchen. As they left, they brought back our things and thanked us, with so much love and appreciation in their voices. We’ve been there (and worse) and were happy to help.
As we got up to take care of our bill, the restaurant informed us they had taken care of it. To the family who paid for our breakfast, here’s what you didn’t see.
Just twenty minutes before the smiles, there was an absolute meltdown as a fresh diaper and clothes were put on. My husband and I spent five minutes contemplating if breakfast was even a good idea this morning. As we rode to the restaurant, I had to sit in the back providing an endless supply of puffs to eliminate the inevitable cries if things were any different.

The reason we were as prepared as Mary Poppins is because we learned the hard way. Babies in restaurants? Super tough!

Our first dining experience consisted of a high chair. No books, puffs, stuffy, stickers or bottle. The kicking and screaming still haunt me. I felt embarrassed and alone as the stares from other tables penetrated me. We asked for our check early and boxed up our meal to go. I cried the entire ride home. The tears were not directed at her. I knew she was just being exactly how she was supposed to be at her age.

The tears were because I felt embarrassed and disappointed in us for not being more prepared. I was also mourning the fact that going out to eat looked so different now.

To the family who paid for our breakfast, thank you. This gesture made me feel seen. Being a parent is so hard, especially when there’s room for judgment. I’m so thankful for Dr. Becky’s work that’s taught me we are all good people at our core. When our children act out, it can be triggering, but it’s normal. I hope instead of looking away from these situations, we can build a connection and lend a hand. When you see babies in restaurants, respond with grace. You never know when that struggling family might be you.