Restaurant moment (2009 Blog Challenge)

Share the best restaurant experience you had this year. Who was there? What made it amazing? What taste stands out in your mind?

It was only a week ago, so it's very fresh in my mind, but that's not why I've chosen this particular restaurant visit as my "Best of 2009."

I didn't choose it because the restaurant was spectacular. Sudwerk: okay, not horrible, but nothing to write Zagat about.

I didn't choose it because of the view, which actually wasn't too shabby: sun going down over the American River, free-agent cats wandering the balcony looking for scraps of food.

I didn't choose it for the exquisite fare. My meal consisted of turkey cooked just a wee bit too long, ham with a sticky cherry sauce, overly-salty stuffing and overly-candied yams. (The green beans with onions and mushrooms, however, were delish.)

I chose this particular restaurant experience as my Best of 2009 because it was a gift to heal my heart.

Surprising even myself, Thanksgiving hit me between the eyes this year. It's been five years since the divorce, and I could have sworn I was So Over All That, but for some reason -- could it have been the recently emptied nest? perhaps the glaring lack of family around my large dining table? or maybe I just need my thyroid checked again? -- Thursday morning found me sobbing in the shower. I was sad, lonely, and oh-so-angry that my family had been scattered hither and yon without anyone so much as asking my opinion.

I wept in the shower because it is my quiet space, my meditation room. And because there was a part of me that felt really selfish and childish so I wanted to keep it to myself. But Steve found me there, puffy-eyed and snotty-nosed. He stripped down, climbed in, and held me tight, urging me to cry it all out.

I had moved the pork tenderloin from the freezer to the fridge on Tuesday. I intended to stuff it with grilled red and yellow peppers, onions, asparagus and Parmesan, and roast it for our Thanksgiving dinner. We would eat it on plates balanced on our knees as we watched some movie or another. But this was the first year I wasn't making a Family Feast and I felt miserable. All I wanted to do was get out of the house so we went for an aimless drive.

Had you asked me. "Would you like to have dinner at a restaurant this year?" I would have replied, "Are you joking?" I'm all about the cooking and the family chaos and the music and the abondanza! But it happened the way it happened and in the end I felt at peace.

The kids will come for dinner another time. Maybe sometime in January we'll have a Festivus for the rest of us. All of our children had fun with their respective doings, everyone got home well-fed and safe, and the evening ended very differently than it began, with Steve, Kashi and I watching the flames lick at the fire logs, the only source of light in a peaceful, darkened house.


Kate_TW said...

Thanks for this. Beautifully written. I had a rather ratty beginning to Turkey Day too, and when I admitted this on facebook, a bunch of friends wrote to say, 'me too!' Holidays can be rough on the psyche. Glad yours ended well.

april said...

oh schmoop. :( i had no idea. and i recall sending you some trite turkey day greeting knowing you were no doubt knee deep in family and food. :/

i really need to pay more attention to our friendship.


Lainie said...

Your story echoes my own, of a few years ago. Every holiday without the kids here is hard, but the earliest ones after they left were the hardest. Trust me, it does get better. A little. *snork*