Spontaneous “Best Night Ever”


What started out as a rainy Friday soccer game after a long week at school, home, and work, turned into a spontaneous group dinner that fed my soul…

The night could not have been more perfect. It was a mix of 5 families and 12 children on a patio at a Mexican restaurant. The kids were able to sit on “their” side and talk and laugh and dance. The adults had “our” side and we were able to talk and laugh – no dancing from us. The weather was perfect after the rain came through. There was a slight breeze in the air with no humidity. The patio lights were on and everyone had a great time.

There was a makeshift stage at the end of the patio that the kids were immediately drawn to. They took turns belting out songs from the recent Aladdin Jr. play at school and acted out the parts with glee. They soon switched to The Greatest Showman songs in excitement about an upcoming summer camp at their school. They were smiling, enjoying the moment, laughing, playing and just being themselves.

The adults were able to sit back and enjoy a moment with other adults. We could catch up on exciting stuff and talk about the hard stuff. Movies, school, summer plans, losing our dog, new finds from Target, and how the kids are growing so quickly was all discussed. We sipped on our margaritas and enjoyed the moment. A moment where you could see the value of just enjoying it. No documentation on Facebook or Instagram pictures were needed. It was a spontaneous dinner at just the right time.


When the bill came, we just split it 5 ways and told the precious server we would be back next Friday to take over the patio again. We sure felt sorry for the other people that would walk out to the patio, take a look at the kids, and then walk back inside. We all laughed and really couldn’t blame them; however, I wouldn’t trade that patio full of kids for a quiet inside table. I know that day is coming. For now, I am going to be thankful for the craziness and the messiness and the spontaneous group dinners with 12 kids.

As we drove home, the kids talked about how much fun they had and that it was “the best night ever!” They got to eat outside, sing, eat as much cheese dip as they wanted, sit at a table with their friends, and stay up late.

I agree – it was the best night ever. When life gets so busy – which it always does – we just need a moment to remind us to reflect and enjoy the present. A spontaneous dinner with friends on the patio at that Mexican restaurant did that for me, and I am so thankful.


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Alissa, a native Memphian, is a tried and true VOL fan. She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Currently, she is the Director of Curriculum at a private school in East Memphis. Alissa is mommy to Jack (January 2010) and Julianne (August 2011) and husband to Scott. Alissa lives in Collierville with her family and their lab, Abbie. She is a type-A planner. Organization is a must for her – both in her professional and family life. She hates odd numbers, onions, and people who drive slowly in the left lane. She loves pedicures, Matilda Jane clothes, the beach, and spending time with her family and friends.