I thought spending an entire weekend and a huge chunk of money for basically less than 24-hours at Great Wolf Lodge would be her big “present” for this particular birthday. But, no. The real gift came when, after we got home, unpacked and showered, we ordered food from her favorite local restaurant.
“It’s your choice,” I told her, knowing her grandmother was treating. “What food would you like delivered for dinner?”
The key word in that sentence was “delivered.” I was exhausted and didn’t want to lift another sore finger. Trust me, it’s harder to ride all those water attractions when you’re 48-years-old as opposed to nine.
“I’ll give you a hint,” she offered. “It’s someplace that I fell in love with in the first grade.”
“Scalini’s?” I responded, knowing I was right before the words hit my lips or her ears.
“Yes!” she answered excitedly. And we were off to order the food. After viewing the online menu I printed it out and allowed our other family members to choose their entrées of choice. Once I had my order in place, I called the restaurant.
Always pleasant, they took the order and said it would arrive within 45 minutes. Oh, we couldn’t wait for that moment. But, when it came, we were terribly disappointed. They had forgotten my daughter’s food!
“The driver just left but I realize now that my daughter’s Chicken Marsala is missing,” I told the employee who answered the phone when I called back.
Mushrooms! My daughter loves mushrooms and she doesn’t have them, but everyone else has their food, I wanted to yell into the phone.
“Please hold just one moment,” the server said. Soon, the manager was on the phone, apologizing profusely and saying they would make the order right away and send the delivery driver back to us ASAP.
“But, just so you know, I am the manager and I took your order myself and you never said anything about Chicken Marsala,” she added timidly.
“Really? Because it’s the whole reason we called you all tonight,” I answered emphatically. “It’s my daughter’s birthday and all she wanted was Chicken Marsala from Scalini’s. Maybe it was my fault and I forgot to order it, but that’s hard to believe considering the circumstances.”
Of course, my daughter was privy to the entire conversation, because she was waiting at the dinner table, hungry and tired from her Great Wolf adventure, and all she wanted to do was eat and go to sleep.
“Here, sweetie, have a mozzarella stick. They’ll be back with your food soon,” I said, trying to comfort her.
Then I went to look at my menu and notes. And, sure enough, I realized quickly that I had not ordered her food. It was not checked off my menu list.
It was my fault my daughter didn’t get her birthday food when everyone else in the house got theirs. I had goofed up. Not only that, but I knew the manager of Scalini’s was rushing our “new” order and was probably going to give it to us complimentary (as any good restaurant manager would have done). And the driver would be out money and gas, too.
“It was my fault!” I told my daughter as I looked back at my menu notes. Then I called Scalini’s and asked for the manager again. I shared with her my discovery and implored her to send the driver with a new bill. Then I apologized for being wrong. She was ever so nice and a bit blown away at my admission of guilt.
My daughter had a great birthday weekend basking in all the glory of Great Wolf Lodge, eating cake and playing with her new Monster High dolls. But, I believe, her best gift was watching her mother eat a piece of humble pie.
“You gotta admit when you’re wrong,” I told her. And she got it.
Sometimes the best presents in life are free (though not without a somewhat bitter aftertaste). Here’s to the next year of all of our lives!