Not Just any Chicken Salad: Sometimes Parents Just Have to Pick their Battles

The other day I posted the following to my personal Facebook feed. 

"Often times, I pull into the garage, the kids get out of the car and go into the house. I stay in the garage for a few minutes looking at my phone because it's quiet. I relish the quiet. It's hardly ever quiet in my car. Shortly, I hear chaos inside. Yelling. Screaming and sometimes crying. It usually happens within three minutes of my kids going inside. I so often want to just back out of the garage. They eventually find me and my peace is gone. That is is parenting reveal for today."

As parents, I think it is important to realize that we are not perfect. We are human. And it's OK to have these thoughts. It's just not OK to act on them. Therefore, I never back out of the garage, but that certainly doesn't mean I didn't want to do it. And I'm OK with admitting these feelings. I think we need to verbalize our feelings for us to be healthy as parents. 

I've been working to archive some of my older posts, updating posts and photos. Folks, this little blog is  like a time capsule. There are six years of personal stories mixed in with recipes and other miscellaneous stuff.  While doing so, I came across a post I did when I was looking at magnet schools in February 2011 for my son to start kindergarten.  

Guess what? I've come full circle with a big loop of deja vu. We are back again looking at schools, but this time it is middle school. 

This time. I think he's ready, but I'm not sure I'm ready. We have loved our elementary school experience and its' size. The school we've applied to this time has more than 1,000 kids and the 6th grade is half the size of his current elementary school. 

But, I know it's the right fit. It's time for him to grow and have even more opportunity. I took him to every school we were considering, not once, but twice. I really wanted him to pick where he wanted to go to middle school.  In kindergarten, we didn't do that. It was our choice. 

Now things need to be differently. He has his own interests. He has own comfort level and feelings. 

We are all in agreement of where he would like to spend his next three years in school. But, it's not up to us totally. It's still a lottery system, but we are going into this magnet pool with some weighted priority so we're hopeful that it will all work as planned. 

On one of the days we were touring, I decided to take him to lunch before taking him back to school for the day. He's my foodie in the family. I thought this would be a good opportunity to explore all of those downtown Raleigh restaurants that we never explore with his sister who is more of a cheeseburger and chicken tenders cuisine type of gal.  The plethora of restaurants would be ours on this day. Just me and him. We could do, Asian, Sushi, Italian, Greek, German, Southern Chicken and Waffles. You name it. We could do it.  It would be fun. 

He couldn't decide.  He finally came up with the idea that chicken salad would be nice for lunch. 

I said, "I know the perfect place. They have great soups, sandwiches, salads and chicken salad." 
We went there. He looked at the menu. The chicken salad was the gourmet kind with grapes and pecans. 

"But, it's good," I said exasperatedly.  I was not liking his attitude. 

He was being stubborn and refused to look at anything else on the menu. He had wanted chicken salad, but he had his own idea of what that chicken salad would taste like to him, and it did not contain pecans or grapes. He wanted nothing fancy about it. 

In front of people, I snapped, "Fine. I'm taking you back to school." And we walked out with my pushing him out the door. I think I even mumbled how ungrateful he was because I'm sure other kids his age don't have his opportunities. 

"Don't take me back. I don't like chicken salad with pecans and grapes. I just want to eat plain chicken salad," he exclaimed. 

"Well, where do you like chicken salad?" I was annoyed because my whole idea of lunch was going down the tubes rather quickly. 

"I just want some plain chicken salad." he stated. 

I'm not sure what made me come to my senses. Perhaps, I realized that my goal was to spend quality time with him. It shouldn't be about the menu or even chicken salad. Instead, it should be about being together. Sometimes, we have our own set ideas that it can make it difficult to see through the forest when trouble comes along. 

Maybe an angel helped me come to my senses, but I must have had some divine intervention because I very quickly realized that this day was about him deciding his future.  I didn't need to win this battle. 

I said, "I'm taking you to the perfect place to get chicken salad. There is no place to sit, we will make do. I used to love getting their chicken salad." 

And we went to Snoopy's, a Raleigh institution since 1978. We parked on a side street and walked to the little drive-in that only takes walkers. 

We loved our lunch on a little bench outside the restaurant. It was the perfect city picnic. 

It turned out to be a beautiful day. There was not a pecan or grape in sight. 

Snoopy's Chicken Salad in Raleigh, NC. An institution since 1978.

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