When I was nine my idea of adulthood was about like this: I could eat all the brownies I wanted to at one time, I could decide my own bedtime and I could become a professional roller skater.
Two out of three is not bad. I’m well down the road to adulthood these days, but I still can’t help feeling a little like I just lucked into an upgrade to first class on the flight to Albany. I’m waiting for someone to come along and point out that I don’t belong. That I’m not, in fact, in charge. That I can’t possibly be relied upon to drive multiple children from their running club to dance class, much less have intelligent discussions about mortgage interest rates. Yet I do all of these things on a regular basis. Apparently I’m a grown up, and this past weekend I went to a dinner party to prove it.
Our friends had called about a month ago to schedule the date. That’s what grown ups do, this planning ahead. That’s because our calendars are so jam packed with ours and our children’s activities that spontaneously getting together to have dinner sans children is about as likely as finding a bathing suit you like in the middle of winter on the first try. It happens, but not to you or anyone you know.
On the designated night we arrived along with three other couples at our friends’ beautiful new home in the woods. As we gathered drinks, took the tour and admired the master bathroom I was feeling more and more grown up by the minute. This surreal feeling grew as we settled in around the fireplace for delicious appetizers like homemade parmesan-artichoke dip with veggies, icy cold shrimp cocktail and mini quiches featuring a cheese I’ve never once considered purchasing. When dinner was ready we moved into the dining room to settle around a beautifully set table. And that’s when the kid in my head came right on back and started pointing and shouting in my ear with excitement. Each place setting had a tiny individual silver pepper shaker, no more than an inch high, and a personal crystal salt cellar with the tiniest spoon for sprinkling the grains on your food! They were enchanting.
Never once have I had a personal salt cellar. I don’t even have a regular salt cellar, although I have a great salt grinder that I got at the grocery store. I couldn’t stop staring at the tiny shaker and wondering if it would be tacky to run to the front hall closet to get my phone so I could take a picture. In hindsight, I wish I had. If our hostess is anything like me she would be quite pleased that a guest was so delighted by this little accompaniment to the table setting.
During our very grown-up dinner of beef tenderloin, glazed and roasted root vegetables, and the creamiest potatoes I’ve ever eaten I couldn’t help feeling that sense of being an adult on the outside and a nine-year-old inside my head. In fact, the older I get the more I seem to have this feeling. My adult obligations continue to grow and become more complex, yet I am fortunate to be able to summon child-like glee at a personal salt cellar. This feeling of being an imposter used to bother me, but I’m going to work on embracing it more. After all, witnessing the world again through our children’s eyes is one of the great gifts of parenthood. So if I can capture some of that wonderment and pleasure within myself, isn’t that a gift too?
L and T are excellent hosts. And having a dinner that didn’t involve children running up and down the stairs, or even a single serving of chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese was a delightful treat. Having three desserts wasn’t bad either. ‘Cause when you’re a grown up you get to eat them all.