I was really hoping to write about a new-ish restaurant in the city that my husband and I went to in celebration of our ninth wedding anniversary. What I can tell you is that tucked-away, much buzzed about Patria is artfully designed. The menu, at a glance looks delicious, as did the few plates that passed by our intimate table for two.
However I cannot write about what we ordered nor if the food critics are right in dubbing this tapas bar one of Toronto’s Best Restaurants of 2013. I cannot tell you, because our ninth anniversary came and went and nary a morsel of food was consumed at Patria.
Let me start off my story by stressing that while summer vacation may be the days of folly and freedom for youngsters, it is for this stay-at-home mom, two months of intense togetherness that has me praying for bouts of dysentery* just so I can seek a few moments of privacy from my three boys.
Who am I kidding? They’d follow me in there too.
The day of our anniversary, the babysitter arrived early with ample time for me to shower, shave my legs and tame my tresses. Basically, I went from looking like this:
(With some creative liscence) To this:
A cab picked me up from my front door and like Cinderella, I was shuttled off to the ball. The whining, complaining, and incessant bickering faded in the review mirror. Even the grueling stop and go traffic along Avenue Road couldn’t dampen my spirits.
I wanted to lean out of the rolled-down window, hair blowing in the breeze and call to the babysitter with a sinister sneer, “You’ve been duped! They are not the loveable boys of school days. These beasts are feral! These boys are urchins! These boys will wear you down, defeat you, make your ears beg for quiet!”
As the cab slowly navigated the downtown streets, I excitedly texted my husband that soon we’d be eating – in a restaurant! With cutlery! Where chicken fingers are a thing of lore!
I was giddy. Like a parolee, I was relishing in the sights of the city. When was this skyscraper finally completed? What kind of art is that new installation? When did men in suits start wearing full beards?
Upon entering Patria, our hostess lead us to our table and we followed behind like obedient school children relieved to finally have some time alone. Just as my husband’s knees bent to sink into his chair, his iPhone buzzed to life.
A glance at the screen revealed a call from the babysitter.
She never calls his phone.
He answered it, and I can immediately tell from the way he casually walked away from the table, from me, that this wasn’t good news.
Back in the cab, it no longer feels like a shiny chariot but rather a jalopy with cracked vinyl seats, rank with fetid air. The inching traffic nothing but a taunt.
“He’s doing great mom! We hope to have his thumb dislodged as soon as the fire department get here.” The kind paramedic, used to placating frantic mothers on the verge of tears, said calmly into the phone.
My youngest son was stuck. His tiny thumb had somehow managed to wedge itself tightly into the hinge of the glass shower door, thereby entrapping him on one side and his freshly scrubbed brother on the other side of the glass.
One frantic babysitter, one flummoxed neighbour and a host of EMS workers descended into our en suite washroom in attempt to free the compressed thumb. Forty minutes later he was liberated with nothing more than a tiny gash and a throbbing digit.
After hours of soothing (the little guy, his empathic oldest brother and a devastated babysitter) my husband and I collapsed onto the couch with a bottle of wine.
Just over his shoulder I could see our wedding picture – the young, fresh faces smiling naively into the camera.
We couldn’t help but laugh. Those people had no clue, no clue at all what kind of maelstrom was lying in wait.
Once the last drop of wine was consumed, we tip-toed up the stairs to check on our feral little urchins and to get some much needed rest, because in this house the only certainty of tomorrow is that it will leave me exhausted.
*Okay, maybe not. But you get the idea.