The first stop on our girls’ weekend, which happened to be around Valentine’s Day, was breakfast at a place we’d heard was delicious. Based on the crowd that morning, others had heard the same. Before we ordered at the counter, we walked through the restaurant to find a place to sit. The only table available was long and fit for a big group. We sat at the end assuming another small group could take the other end of the table. I told my friends to go order while I saved our seats.
A gentleman walked in and he and his teenage son sat at the other end of the table. After a moment, he approached a server, and I overheard him say that he had a party of eleven on the way. They were going to need the whole table, where I sat, or to push other tables together. They both glanced my way, but didn’t say anything to me.
My initial thoughts were not overly generous. Nope, not happening. We were here first. They can’t have the entire table. They are just going to have to wait until we are finished eating. I’m not moving. I could feel my body tense as I became defensive and possessive.
But then, in a moment of clarity, I looked around the room, just to see if there were any vacancies. Another father and his son dressed in his boy scout uniform (yes, really, a boy scout) had recently exited the restaurant leaving a table with two seats. On further inspection, I saw an extra chair sitting alone against another wall. A family had abandoned the chair in favor of a highchair for their baby. All I had to do was grab the chair and sit down at the other table to make it a table for three.
I got up and told the man needing the large table that he could have the entire table. We would move to the smaller one. He protested at first. He said it wasn’t necessary. His group wouldn’t arrive for a few more minutes, he said. No, I insisted. We could move to the smaller table. It wasn’t a hardship. He thanked me profusely.
I waved at my friends to tell them I’d moved when they returned from the counter. I explained what had transpired, including my thought process that focused entirely on the scarcity of seats and my need to hold on to what was ours. I was embarrassed that I’d been ready to dig in my heels to keep our seats when all I had to do was open my eyes to see the space that was appearing all around us.
We ate. The man’s large group arrived. During our meal, the man approached our table, said thank you again, and handed me a frosted sugar cookie in the shape of a heart. I was surprised and delighted.
When I became entrenched in getting my own way, I couldn’t see the other options in front of me. When I got out of my own way and saw the possibilities though, my heart and the love in the room grew beyond my expectations.
A heart cookie was a delicious end to a meal, a great start to the weekend, and a beautiful symbol of a lesson learned.