We Celebrated Family Night, Ditched the Kids in Barnes and Noble and Closed Panera Bread

Jeremy and I stood in the Starbucks Cafe in Barnes and Noble looking out at the plethera of reading material just beyond the short wall that divided the cafe area from the retail area. Behind us was the counter where the lovely young barista had just given us one White Chocolate Mocha and one Dark Verona. In front of us was the bookstore. And somewhere in the middle of it all were our kids.

Me: They’re good right?

Jeremy: Yeah. They know where they’re going.

Me: So we’re drinking coffee from Starbucks while our kids are alone in a giant bookstore, not drinking Starbucks even though it’s their favorite store.

Jeremy: Yep.

Me: Alrighty then. Drink away.


We celebrated Family Night on Monday.

Both a celebration and choice because we celebrated being together and chose to make it happen after a somewhat taxing couple of weeks.  It was time to reconnect.

Just the four of us.

I don’t know about you, but its terribly easy to get caught up in the tasks of ministry life, of mom life, of parenting life, of life, so we took off on Monday night, drove an hour and spent the next five in retail therapy.

Let me tell you how unlikely it is that we will spend either time OR money in retail therapy. It is extraordinarily, highly, incredibly, fantastically unlikely that we will spend time or money in retail therapy at any given time for any given reason, except maybe Christmas shopping. Once in a while we will spend a day running errands together..say a Monday when Jeremy takes his day off. Sometimes we will drive to a bookstore and buy a few books with a limited budget (like ten bucks each), read some magazines and grab dinner at Five Guys or Chipotle. But retail therapy just doesn’t happen in this house. Our budget, priorities and choice to live simply don’t justify retail therapy.

But Monday, oh dear Monday….on Monday we justified retail therapy.

Starbucks, Panera, Barnes and Noble, Micheals, Ross’s….it was all justified.

At one point after checking in with each other periodically in Barnes and Noble we decided, in the middle of book shopping, to take a break and share a chocolate mousse with the perfect amount of whipped cream on top  from Starbucks while sitting in one of those very cool high tables with high back stools.

Jeremy and I finished our drinks and the girls each sipped a Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino with no espresso please.


We finished our dessert, after an hour or so finished our book shopping and left with books for us, books for gifts, a Storm Trooper Lunch Box for a little friend who is IN LOVE with Star Wars, and German Language flash cards for Kaitlyn who has very recently decided she wants to learn to speak German.

And by recent I mean while we were in Barnes and Noble.

After we checked out and found the car we drove across the parking lot to Micheals. The girls and I shopped alone here, while Jeremy stayed in the car and read his new book. We bought canvases, paint, paint brushes, Werther’s Originals Candies and a latchhook template for Anna.

Oh man, I forgot how good Werther’s are.

When we were finished in Micheals we drove across the parking lot again, and the girls and I spent the next hour in Ross’s shopping for and trying on moreb dresses than we knew we’d buy, while Jeremy read some more of his book in the car.

Every woman needs a new dress once in a while.

Or two.

By the time we were finished dress shopping it was close to 8:30 and we hadn’t had dinner.

Panera Bread was within sight and we decided that broccoli and cheese soup would be perfect before the hour long ride home, because Panera’s broccoli and cheese soup is pretty much perfect.

We placed our order, while the girls chose our seat.

We prayed, thanking God for this night, for our time together and for Panera Bread.

And we ate.

And we talked.

And we laughed.

The girls talked about their time in public school, compared notes and shared some of their favorite memories and some difficulties. My heart teetered between breaking, when Anna told us for the first time about being picked on by a certain group of girls, and laughing as Jeremy told us about his marching band days. Jeremy talked about his time in school and I talked about mine.

We told the girls stories of college and past choices and former girlfriends and boyfriends.

We told them how both Jeremy and I ended up working for State Street Bank in Boston our first year of marriage. How he worked security and I worked at a cubicle that sucked the life out of me daily. (I have since realized I’m not cut out to work in a cubicle.) We remembered some of the people he worked with, some retired Boston police and how one day a seagull dropped a clam from the sky, only to land and crack open on the top of Jeremy’s head. He shared the unfortunate story of the ATM incident that happened while he was on shift. We laughed hard. That story never, ever gets old.

It was finally time to head home. Panera was closing, the employees were wiping down doors and tables and putting away uneaten food items. We were the last ones left.

I rounded the corner to refill my drink for the ride home, when I came back toward the family I caught this picture.




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