For those of us with Celiac and/or Food Allergies..we know how it is when any of us say that we are going on vacation. Inevitably, we get asked two questions:
Where/who are you going with? Where will you be able to eat?
I found myself getting so excited to be able to say that we were going to the beach with my family….the food part was not even a concern for me and I just said; “I am bringing all of my own food”. Sometimes we hear; “oh, that must be so hard”. Actually, it is not hard! I would rather be safe and enjoy my time with my family. I don’t mind eating before we all go out somewhere…what is important is that we are all together and that is what makes me happy! (I don’t try to bring my own food into another restaurant)
As many of you know, we (Dave and I) don’t get out of the cafe, deli and bakery very often. If we do, it had never been the two of us together at the same time! Thanks to our wonderful staff; Susan, Jessica, Yvonne, Emily, Ryan, Alana and Dominic; we were finally able to take four days off (Mon-Thurs) of last week. Our staff safely fed our customers while we were gone. I am so grateful to them for allowing us some much needed time off.
Every year, my family gets together at the beach in Maryland and Dave’s family gets together on Lake Michigan. Two years ago, Dave went to see his family for five days and I actually made a trip to Narragansett and Newport, RI to spend time with some family there. In five years, that has been it folks. Thanks to the generosity of our friends Jim and Joyce; we were able to go this year because they let use their condo at the beach.
Another exciting part of this was the ability to see my sisters, brother in laws, nieces, nephews, my son, grandson and daughter in law and some close friends. Having a grandson who lives 10 miles away from the restaurant is great, however, the problem is that I have not been able to bond with him. I saw him for a few hours on Christmas Eve, drove 45 minutes to his birthday party in Feb; only to be able to stay for 30 minutes and return to work….that was it. Any other time they have to bring Cody here to see me and this environment is not conducive to bonding with a 1.5 year old.
The bottom line for me is that vacation is about being out of our normal environment…getting away from our exhausting jobs and being able to spend time with those who we choose to be with. For me it was my family and close friends. That is what I was excited about. I think our culture puts too much emphasis on food. Eating food is just what we seem to do when we are surrounded by people. The important part for me is the people I am with. (I brought lots of cupcakes for the big bonfire on the beach and everyone enjoyed them!)
For me these 4 days were so great; I did not turn on the TV for 3 days. I spent time with my family. I got to bond with my grandson, Cody, take him to dip his feet in the ocean, play with him in the sand and read books to him. I was able to witness what and incredible mom that my daughter-in-law Kristen is!
Mostly, I am so grateful for the great one-on-one time I got to spend with my son Mike. I was so glad that he told me that he wants my “time” and for me to be “in his and his son’s life”. He knows very well how committed I am to what I do and he understands my passion (after all, he was one of my first employees 7.5 years ago), but he also expressed his concern over how much I work and how he feels that Dave and I are missing out on so much family time.
What is so great is that Mike share’s my work ethic and his nickname at his job is “Passion”…because he is so passionate about what he does. I found the role reversal very interesting when he used my own words back to me; “I want your time”. That is music to a Mom’s ears!
We discussed the delicate balance that we all have to walk between personal life and our jobs. I know that I could not have done this when he was young and he said how glad he was that I was home with him when he was growing up. We discussed where I envision One Dish Cuisine Cafe, Deli and Bakery in 5 years and he was not at all surprised by my answer. Then he said he is willing to share me with all of you because he knows that we need safe places to eat. But, he is “putting me on a time limit to get it all done”.
I better get back to work gang!
PS: No, I never felt left out while my family and friends were dining out… I never felt more included…because I was actually there with them and not hearing about their experiences from someone else!