There's a little Thai dig in a nearby town that serves the best Thai food I'd ever had. Given, I'm not exactly a Thai connoisseur. In fact, My best friend from college introduced me to Thai food a few years ago. I was immediately hooked and loved it immensely.
Every few months my dance friends and I get together for lunch or dinner, depending on who can watch the children. That's a rule. No children are allowed, although two babies have accompanied two of us on occasion. As soon as they could string a sentence together and dominate conversation, their invitations were revoked.
Kristy, Jennifer, Kari and I danced together for six years at Kristy's dance studio. Kristy and Jennifer are beautiful dancers. Kari and I worked harder to look graceful. The dance class was always in the middle of the week at the end of the day. Sometimes I was simply too tired to drive the 20 minutes, dance for an hour then drive 20 minutes home. But I kept doing it over and over and over again. I thought it was because I loved to dance. Which I do. However, since Kristy finished her basement and the studio was moved to a different location, our studio time was lost and dancing became a kitchen past time. I've tried a couple of different studios since then and I don't like dancing, anymore.
My dance friends and I now meet at a Thai place in a nearby town. It has the best Thai food I've ever tasted. We set up camp when we go to lunch. We order a dish, then claim the table for three hours at a time. We eat our Thai food and share our lives. We keep light (or not) conversation like adoption, reactive attachment disorder, anxiety and depression, husband's infidelity, divorce, single parenting, dating in our forties, rare skin disorders, an intellectually handicapped adult son, a child adopted through social services with serious RAD and oppositional defiance, surgeries for ourselves, our children, our husbands, the latest good book, new cottage industries, religious and spiritual struggles, personal, financial and family crises, other women who have entered our marriages and disrupted our family well-being, self-doubt, self confidence, graduations, our children's achievements, our own achievements, and on and on. No subject is taboo. When one is in crisis, the others listen and support.
One of my children had an appointment near this Thai restaurant and I found myself with 45 minutes alone and a hungry belly. I ran in and ordered a couple of boxes to go then waited for the appointment to end while eating in the car. I discovered that the food was good but not exceptional, like I'd always thought. I tried it a different time and took it to work with the same result.
I realized why I stopped dancing. As much as I love to dance, it wasn't the actual dancing that I craved. As much as I love these restaurants where I meet my friends, it isn't the food I need. The life I lead and the food I eat is much, much sweeter because of the company I keep.