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Happy Birthday to You!

My 31st birthday dinner was an abject failure. It took place at a very expensive seafood restaurant at the beach.

The scallops were the best I’d ever eaten, but the dinner conversation consisted mainly of trying to entice a 3-year-old to behave.

And then removing said 3-year-old from the restaurant when she began to disrupt other diners.

I was the only person at our table who’d finished eating, so I had to take her home.

I wrote a long, whiny post in the car on the way home. It was all about how I’d never before felt like I’d given up myself to be a mom, but that I felt exactly that way that night.

Fortunately, by the time I got Grace to bed that night, I’d forgotten the post.

I feel the need to mention that I was upset about the circumstances, but not so much with the 3-year-old. It was the last day of a week-long vacation. She was tired, out of sorts, and ornery as all get out.

Unfortunately, by the time we drove home, she was sincerely apologetic. By that time, she wanted nothing more than to return to the restaurant and not ruin my birthday dinner.

It was too late, a fact that made me so so sad – for both of us.

I had a do-over birthday dinner this past Sunday. My mom and I have birthdays in the same week, and every year, we have a birthday dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Rancho Grande.

The best thing about Rancho Grade is the people. The owners, their children, and their grandchildren run the restaurant; they’re warm and kind. The whole experience is like eating at a friend’s house, including mini Spanish lessons.

They go all out when it’s your birthday. They serenade you in Spanish, and then in English. They serve fried ice cream with a candle in it.

Mum wearing her birthday sombrero

Perhaps, best of all, you get to wear a fancy sombrero.

Grace and I wearing sombreros

And, because they really are that awesome, they even give Grace a mini sombrero to wear.

I'll wear your hat, Momma

Of course, she wanted to trade me. Just to see.

perfect Grace wearing a sombrero

My second birthday dinner wasn’t fancy or expensive. Quite the opposite, it was comfortable, familiar, plain.

It couldn’t have been better.

© 2010 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

13 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to You!”

  1. Is this the Rancho Grande near my house? The one that's shaped like a boat? I drive by there every day, but have never been in.

  2. Yes, it is! It is an oddly colored place, inside and out, but we love it. It's relatively inexpensive, and the people are just so kind. And the food! Yum. I'm totally hungry for it again, and we were just there on Sunday.

  3. We've had lots of moments like that lately too. It's hard to be 3. There are so many rules about expected behavior.

    I'm glad you got a 2nd chance at birthday dinner. And that it was much more pleasant. Mothers somehow learn to be graceful in the midst of self-sacrifice. You're doing a great job, Tara.

  4. How fun that you got to have a do-over to erase the memory of the first dinner! And these pictures tell a great story. My daughter would do this, too, and I sorta dreaded going out for awhile there- thankfully, this,too, shall pass. 🙂

  5. I'm learning to try to expect less on my birthday – it is just one of those days where things seem to not work out. I'm glad your 2nd dinner was better 🙂

  6. so happy you got a fun birthday dinner after all! andrés' 31st birthday dinner was pretty horrendous too. my parents took the 4 of us to a really nice steakhouse. julia belén was just over 3 months old and screamed the whole time we were there. she wouldn't nurse, she wouldn't fall asleep. i spent most of the time walking around and ended up eating my steak and shrimp, really cold by then, by myself since everyone else had eaten. the only good thing is that we went early on a sunday so there wasn't really anyone there. but i will never forget it.

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