When Marc and I celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary, we headed back to the local restaurant and banquet hall, charming and rustic, where we were married.
For our tenth anniversary, we had taken our boys with us, showing off two little men who, at five years of age, looked adorable in suits and ties.
For our fifteenth anniversary, for some reason, I thought it’d be nice to repeat the experience even though they had since morphed into kids who insisted fancy clothes made them itchy and who also needed to be reminded to chew with their mouths closed.
We walked inside the place and soaked up the warm and inviting atmosphere. A glowing fireplace, along with candles, and a wall of windows overlooking the water, brought me back to that wonderful night when I peed into an empty Big Gulp cup and screamed at my bridesmaids to stop bitching about their hair.
“Here’s where we were married.” I peeked inside the Coral Room and then pointed at a larger reception area. “Down this hall is where we were introduced as husband and wife for the very first time.”
The boys peered inside the larger reception area and could see a banquet table and dance floor amidst dozens of tables and chairs.
“Isn’t this where Aunt Martha fell down during YMCA?” I asked Marc. “The room is much smaller than I remember.”
“Too bad we can’t say the same about Aunt Martha,” Marc remarked.
After the tour, we sat and listened to our children’s detailed stories about fifth grade. It seemed that Nadia stared at them during math class and Albert ruined recess with his Napoleon complex and bad attitude. Marc cheered them up with tips on what to say in challenging situations. (“Nadia, if you don’t calm down, I’m absolutely not taking you to prom in eight years no matter how much you beg me” and “Albert, I’d love to insult you, but I’m afraid you’d jump up really high and bite my knees.”)
This wasn’t exactly candlelight and roses talk, but instead of staring out at the water, I focused on our two healthy boys who are kind and good, despite parents who encourage them to insult and alienate. #blessed
Both kids looked confused when we gave them menus. “Nothing looks familiar,” Zachary said.
They perked up when they saw Mozzarella and Tomato in the appetizer section and then our server convinced them to try Seafood Alfredo without seafood.
I have to say, the music was a highlight. I finally heard the piano player when I got up to use the bathroom by myself. The upside though is that I became an expert on kickers and field goals.
Our server brought over the Caprese Salad and Zachary stared as if it was veal. Or broccoli.
“We ordered mozzarella sticks and tomato sauce. What’s this?” he asked, confused.
“We ordered mozzarella and tomato, buddy,” Marc said
“You take them to sports bars,” I told him. “Now they don’t know what real food looks like.”
I tried to stay enthusiastic. Pasta is always a home run and when they brought our entrees, I just knew my hungry boys would be satisfied.
And quiet. For at least five minutes.
I dug in, happy to finally hear some of the music and a few birds outside.
“There are lots of vegetables in here,” Zach whispered at his food.
“The pasta is orange,” Jacob said softly. “That just doesn’t look right.”
“Try it,” I said. “It’s probably made from carrots or squash and I bet it’s delicious.” I immediately realized my error.
Revealing pasta’s healthy ingredients is not the way to sell it. Both boys made the same faces they made as toddlers when I tried to get them to drink prune juice.
I leaned over and took a bite and didn’t mention that their radioactive pasta was costing us a fortune.
“That’s perfection,” I said.
“We can’t trust your taste,” Zachary said, all brave and shit. “You like couscous.”
While Marc took the boys to the bathroom, hopefully lecturing them to enjoy the restaurant, even if the place didn’t broadcast Rays’ games, our server asked about our wedding song.
“The piano player would love to serenade you,” she said.
“That’s great,” I said. “The Air that I Breathe by The Hollies.”
She made the Prune Juice Face, too.
“He plays classics,” she said. “Maybe I can hum a few bars for him. Just in case, are there any other special songs from that night?”
“Our acoustic guitarist played Thank You by Led Zeppelin and Drowning Man by U2 during the ceremony.”
“Wow. We’re talking about a wedding, right? From this century?”
She made a good point. What the hell did we have against Frank Sinatra?
We let Jacob and Zachary order dessert to make up for the indignities of five-star cuisine. When our server brought the bill, I tried not to stroke out over $200 and told her to box up the leftovers. Our sons were going to develop a taste for decent food if it killed me.
I wrote this down to remind myself that in the future, I would do everyone a favor and make reservations at the nearest sports bar. Marc and I can go back to scene of the crime, enjoy the view, and eat orange pasta alone.