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Plain Clothes Mommy

Cora’s favorite place to eat out is
Panera, a quick-but-not-fast-food-food place with sandwiches and
salads. Cora loves the yogurt there, but mostly it’s the
“experience” of the dining: they’ve got these big
Starbucks-type lounge chairs covered in funky (but subdued) circle
print, and Cora loves to sit in them to eat. She makes a bee-line
for “her” circle chairs and can barely contain her
disappointment if they’re taken; fortunately for us, they
rarely are.

Now for the bad part: these circle chairs are side-by-side, with a
small occasional table between them. But because the chairs are on
rollers Cora is convinced they are meant to be repositioned, and
will insist they be turned and set so the tiny table can be used as
a lunch table, the two gigantic circle chairs crowding around it.

Now for the worse part: there are only two chairs, and there are
usually three people at Panera – me, my mom, and Cora. Which
means that someone (other than Cora) will be sitting at a different

Yesterday we went for lunch and I said to
Cora, “Who would you like to sit with you for lunch?”
She looked at me and said, “Gamma.” Then she patted my
arm sympathetically and said, “We appreciate our alone time.
Thank you.”

What just happened?

So I found myself sitting across the small room at a two-top, all
by myself, watching Cora and my mom have lunch together. This is no
big deal – I actually quite appreciate my alone time too,
thank you – but I had an eagle Mommy eye out the whole time
and came across a bit odd, I think, to the other patrons. I felt a
bit like a secret service man, with the invisible earpiece and the
eyes taking everything in while trying to look like I wasn’t

I tried to stay out of it, I did, but sometimes I went into
auto-pilot. “Sit up, please!” I said when I saw Cora
start to lounge in her chair, and the startled woman at the table
in front of me obediently uncurled from around her paperback and
straightened her spine.

“You know, better – say ‘please’!” I
scolded when I heard Cora demand another container of yogurt, and
the man behind me clenched his teeth and said to his female lunch
partner, “Ok, sure, why not – PLEASE stop bugging me
about the water bill!”

Hmm – maybe this could have useful future applications.
Perhaps I could just wander about a United Nations meeting,
scattering Momisms while I casually sauntered through the crowd.

World peace, here comes a mommy.


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