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  • Writer's pictureElana

At Baba's Restaurant

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

We've been up at my parents' cottage for almost 2 weeks now. We are so lucky to have this little island of heaven accessible to us as a getaway. With all the changes going on in our world lately, exciting trips haven't seemed accessible to us, so we are very grateful to have the cottage to come to for fun, fresh air, family time and relaxation.

Today after a morning excursion to a neighbouring island to explore and pick berries, some water play outside, kite-flying and a quiet monopoly game during nap-time, we spent most of the afternoon looking forward to a special outing: we were going to go for a boat ride to the waterfront restaurant by the lighthouse, Gilly's, for some fish and chips for supper. We spent hours hyping it up, getting 4-year-old Ari excited. But we left later than planned and summer is at its peak, so even on a Thursday at 5:45, there was a 1.5 hour wait to be seated. That's a hard no with 2 small, hungry kids, thank you very much. We turned around to head back to our cottage where nothing was defrosted and we had no backup plan. The disappointment was real. We all felt it. But Ari's tears and the devastation on his face broke my heart. He could wait an hour and a half, he insisted, he just wanted to eat at the special restaurant.

My Dad seemed to think they might sell us some fish to go. "Do you do take out?" my mom asked, and the answer was no. But when she snuck downstairs to the convenience store under the restaurant and explained our situation, they sold her some (raw, fresh) fish and fries to take back and cook at the cottage. Of course, she already happened to have fish batter on hand. Ari's disappointment was still deep, but we tried to reassure him that this might turn into an opportunity for something fun. We were all disappointed, and it was ok and totally reasonable to feel that way, but we couldn't change it. We could just make the most of what was in our control.

On the boat ride back, Ari sat in my lap at the front of the boat and we started making plans. We would decorate the cottage to look like a restaurant. We would use different place mats and glasses to make it feel special. We would make a sign and a menu. We would pick flowers to put in a vase. We even made up a theme song, "you can eat anything you want at Baba's restaurant" (to the tune of Alice's restaurant). The tears turned into smiles and the smiles turned into giggles. By the time we got back to the cottage we were on a mission!

Humming and singing our new theme song over and over again to himself, Ari took his job of transforming our cottage into a restaurant very seriously. My mom dove into the kitchen, frying pan first, and cooked us an even more delicious dinner than we would have had at Gilly's.

And we made a pretty magical memory. We've been reading a lot of books lately about resilience, but here was a real-life chance to show my boys that disappointment can lead to new opportunities; when a door closes, a window opens. This didn't just feel like a chance to cheer up a sad boy (because seriously, I couldn't handle it) but a chance to teach and demonstrate a really important lesson that can be applied anywhere in our lives.

At bedtime, there was no question what the highlight of Ari's day was. The exploring and kite-flying and slip-and-sliding didn't compare to Baba's restaurant. What could have been the lowest point of our day turned out to be the best part of all!

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