My recent adventure with Ryan included one meal at an honest-to-goodness, your-server-will-be-with-you-momentarily, restaurant. We were going to eat dinner at the game before Ryan decided he preferred the chain pizza/bistro attached to our hotel.
Determined to mind the lessons from Bring Your Child to Work Day, I reminded myself to avoid intervening when the waitress came to take our orders, no matter how it went.
When asked for his drink order, Ryan said “I will have water without lemon,” before going on to order his pizza and thank the server.
Water without lemon.
By asking to omit a small slice of citrus, he served up a small slice of self-advocacy. It was proof both that Ryan remembers everything and that he can speak for himself just fine, thank you.
He remembers that in some restaurants, they bring you your water with a lemon wedge — whether you ask for it or not. This was not one of those restaurants, but he got his preference on the record anyway.
I don’t know why, but the moment stuck with me. There are a few of my son’s particulars that I have learned to bring up at restaurants — such as the fact he likes his burgers completely plain, but I would not have thought to mention this one.
Because I was smart enough to shut up and let him speak for himself, he communicated his wishes clearly, and avoided having the send back a seemingly perfectly good glass of water. No need for quizzical stares from the server.
I am grateful both for the gift of his ability to communicate his needs, and the gained perspective that allows me to allow him to do so.