Dear Janine (Lovely, Long-Suffering Waitress at Marconi Beach Restaurant)

Dear Janine,

You probably don’t remember us.

The minute we pulled out of your restaurant, when calm and quiet was once again restored to the Marconi Beach Restaurant in particular and the entire Wellfleet area in general, I’m guessing you willed yourself to forget that staggeringly awful 45 minutes of your life that you simply would never get back at any price. I bet you looked at the long shift ahead and thought, let me just block that particular family out of my mind so I don’t wind up rocking back and forth in the corner of the kitchen muttering strange things about coleslaw.

But just in case you didn’t successfully erase our family dining event from the annals of your waitressing career, I wanted to write you a letter of thanks. I initially thought about writing a note of apology, but then I realized that might focus too much on our atrocious behavior and not enough on your angelic posture and dignity in the face of utter absurdity and chaos.

So Janine, thank you.

Thank you for welcoming our circus into your establishment with a warm smile and kind tone, assuring us that you had the perfect table for our family. Thank you for knowing that the perfect table was next to the kitchen where the clanging and banging of pots and pans might do us the favor of blocking out the intermittent screeching noises that Wes was experimenting with at that moment.

Thank you for bringing Wes an extra box of crayons even though he is clearly far too young to color. You knew they might save all of us from just a few of those screeching sounds. Thank you for not looking at the ground pointedly and with judgmental eyes when he proceeded to hurl those extra crayons on the floor and scream for more. Oh, and thank you for politely looking the other way while my 5 year olds were fighting over a blue crayon…even though there were two in plain sight.

Thank you for offering me–and no one else at the table– a beer, and silently letting me know that you understood how a cool, refreshing sip of heaven would transport me, if only for a second, to a restorative place far, far away from the loud, messy mob at my table.

You see, we don’t usually get ourselves into these predicaments. We take our children out to eat, but only when they are well-rested and have some fighting chance at decent behavior. Yesterday we ran our kids ragged biking and hiking and, oops, it was almost 2 o’clock and no one had eaten or napped. There was your BBQ smoker outside, and the restaurant smelled good and looked cozy. We couldn’t resist.

But I digress.

Thank you for barely blinking when you walked up to the table and found me nursing Wes in the hopes of stopping all of that awful screeching. You didn’t miss a beat when you asked me if I wanted some milk for him, despite the uncomfortable irony.

Thank you for cleaning up the entire cup of milk that one of my older children spilled. Of course, it was bound to happen and you just swooped in with rags and towels and told us it wasn’t your rug and you didn’t care. There was no sighing, no huffing and puffing, not even a sideways eye roll.

Thank you also for recommending the best ever comfort food for our particular situation. You let us know that the Cape Cod Reuben was indeed messy, but completely worth it. Seriously, you recommended the most messy item on the menu to the most messy table in the restaurant. And the sandwich was amazing.

Thank you for being in cahoots with me on getting broccoli onto my children’s plates despite the inconvenience of substitutions and additions. Everything was no big deal to you and you even whispered to me conspiratorially which made me feel really, really normal even under the circumstances.

Thank you for not looking at my husband oddly as he ate his sandwich while fiercely bouncing a baby over the half wall behind our table. We took up far too much space and air and yet you just kept bringing napkins and extra silverware to replace whatever was hurled onto the floor.

When I thanked you at the end of the meal, you told me it was no big deal because you are a mom. Well, Janine, there are plenty of moms out there who would not have the same grace and dignity in the face of our obnoxious lunchtime assault.

The restaurant was cozy and adorable. The food was delicious. But you, Janine, were divine. SImply the best family waitress out there. You made me really happy in spite of my children’s ridiculous antics.

I wish I would say we would be back. Unfortunately I think the only way we can truly repay you is to never return.

We shall see. I think the Cape Cod Reuben will draw us in again. And then you can kindly and graciously find us the perfect table. In someone else’s section.

With Gratitude,

The “Lively” Little Campers

3 Comments

  1. JP

    I continually marvel at the high level of writing that you perform in your magical blog. This is so professionally written, and while you are on vacation with 3 kids. Your blog about eating out brought back so many (bad, but funny now) memories of our early camping trip with our kids. Thank you for the comic relief, the memories, and for pioneering new places to visit.

    Reply
    • livelylittlecampers

      That is really just the sweetest comment ever! Thanks so much. Writing about our experiences around the campfire at the end of the day is actually a very relaxing and reflective way for us to unwind. When you are doing something you love, it is definitely not a chore (most of the time!!!). As always, thanks for following us on our adventures:-)

      Reply
  2. Kerri

    I just stumbled across this post. So lovely and so true (and makes me so thankful to be well beyond those crazy toddler years)! You and Janine each deserve a badge of honor. 🙂

    Reply

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