I changed six different times last night when I was trying to decide what to wear to dinner. My friend Kendra can attest to that. She kept counting and every few minutes or so the number would once more increase as I continuously vetoed various outfits.
She said, “Elisabeth, stop freaking out! Your Dad doesn’t care what you look like and you’ll look great in anything you wear!”
Here’s the thing. I hadn’t seen him in over a month and I wanted to dress up and look my best, just for him. If I dress up for someone it’s a big deal—it means I care a lot. And I had been looking forward to dinner with my Dad for weeks.
I texted him, “Tell me when you’re here” and two minutes later I was walking down the hall toward the door that leads to the lounge. Before I realized what was going on, my Dad was in the hallway with a bunch of flowers just for me. He had somehow managed to get into the lounge, and then into the hallway just so he could surprise me with a bouquet of flowers.
I hugged him and couldn’t let go. I couldn’t believe he was actually there! I believe one of my friends managed to catch the moment on camera, but I have not yet seen the picture.
He made the rounds with me as I introduced him to various people. I showed him my room to prove that it was still intact and organized, and I also pointed out how much the plant from my Mom had grown.
I told my Dad I wanted him to chose where we ate (the one requirement was that the restaurant would have good steak) and after the flowers were placed safely in a vase we headed out.
I’m surprised how well I know the city now. I was able to help direct my Dad where he wanted to go, I could tell him the easiest way to get to main roads, and I recognized where we were. To a point, I was impressed with my knowledge.
We successfully reached Daniel’s Broiler, which rests right beside Lake Union. My Dad gave me the seat with the better view, but I only had a few moments to look because when the menus appeared my attention was captivated by the thought of food.
After we ordered our food I called my on my phone Mom to talk to her. The waiter was probably wondering what in the world was going on—he must have passed at least three times while I was on the phone in front of my Dad, and I’m afraid I looked rather rude since he didn’t know whom I was talking to. I wanted to say, It’s ok! I’m talking to my mom and she loves my dad and me and we’re just talking. I’m not trying to be rude at all, I promise! I’m sure it didn’t even matter that much, but I want to act professional and courteous when I’m at a fancy restaurant.
The first food that arrived was a shrimp cocktail. I haven’t had shrimp in months and I just about died of happiness. From that point on I could not stop smiling the entire meal and my Dad took a picture of me every time I ate something new because he couldn’t get over the expression of glee on my face. I felt like a kid eating cotton candy for the first time—the only difference is that I’m an 18 year old who was freaking out about shrimp, salad, steak and mashed potatoes.
College food does that to you, no matter if it’s ranked on "America’s Best College Cafeteria Food" or not.
I had a great time eating everything. Even the bread tasted a million times better. I kept eating no matter how full I felt. When food is good I have no limit, and last night I could have eaten for hours.
I’m totally serious. Hours.
When I took a bite of the steak it melted in my mouth. I didn’t know it was possible for steak to melt when I ate it. I had the huge urge to laugh or dance… but I didn’t. I just continued to smile real big, eat, and catch up with my Dad on life.
Unfortunately dinner didn’t last long enough. I finished off strong with a beautiful crème brulee and felt totally content. Having my Dad in the beautiful city of Seattle with me, and eating good food made the night one of the best so far this year.
When he dropped me off at school and we said our goodbyes it felt like the first weekend of school all over, but it was also very different. This time my Mom wasn’t there, this time I wasn’t scared out of my mind, and this time I knew what I would walk back inside to.
Plus, my stomach was full of good food.
Which made my life look even brighter.