Tensions eased a bit on both sides after a while and we left for our dinner as planned. On the way, a video game that we were working on together (and nearing completion on) erased all of our stored information and all of our hard work on finishing it was lost. When we got to Panera, we found our favorite seating area unoccupied and marked our territory with our jackets. We were both excited and things were looking up. When we went up to the counter to place our orders, the restaurant was out of the one thing that my daughter had been looking forward to (and the only thing on the menu that she would actually eat). She asked to leave for home. On the way, I was close to tears as the whole afternoon was not going according to my plan. Maddie could sense how upset I was and she said something that opened my eyes. She said daddy, having dinner together at some restaurant is not important. The only thing that is important is that we get to spend time together and talk and have fun. She was totally right and her statement changed my outlook completely.
When we got home, I was renewed of spirit, and I decided to see if there were any other Panera locations nearby. It turns out that there was one much closer to our home than the one we went to, but I didn't even know about it. When we got there, they had everything we wanted, in fact we both liked the place better. An evening that was not turning out well was saved and we both had a wonderful evening, all because of an important lesson that my little one taught me.