Last night, Adam and I got the chance at a night out alone. We ran some errands and grabbed dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. A half hour or so into our meal, the table next to us was sat with a family of three. A mom, a dad, and a little boy—that if I had to put money on it, was right around Noah's age.
I noticed as they got to the table, they were very relaxed, and took their time taking off their jackets. They weren't frantically counting the seconds till the high chair got there so they could strap their almost four year old in and finally breathe. Their kid didn't even need a high chair. He just climbed up onto his seat and started coloring the little generic restaurant book while his parents looked over the beer menu.
We were wrapping up our dinner and I made a comment to Adam that "sometimes I wish we had that." He looked at me kinda confused, but all I had to do was look in the direction of the family, and he knew exactly what I meant. I can't really remember the last time we brought Noah to a restaurant, it's honestly happening less and less. Because it's getting harder and harder. The anxiety is high every minute of the whole experience. When your kid can start hitting their head on the table at any given time for a number of reasons that you can't always control...it can kinda take away from the experience. And we are not the least bit ashamed of our kid, but we're human, and that's just a hard situation to be in, for everyone. So for a moment, I saw these two people have something we don't, and I felt myself teetering at the edge of the rabbit hole. The one that if you fall down, all your worries and fears come crashing at you all at once—but I caught myself, until this morning that is.
I don't know why but I decided while playing with Noah I would ask him to match a color. Like he does every day in therapy and has for months now. I laid out three colors cards and asked him to match the red one. Except when I ask, it's the end of the world. Crying, kicking, running away, and more crying. Why? Why does everything have to be so hard all the time? And I know that matching a silly color is not really that important—but this is our norm for almost every single thing we do in our life. And I'm exhausted. Some days I physically shake from the fear of it being this hard forever and not knowing how I won't crumble from it all.
After about five minutes of encouraging him to match the color and not getting anywhere, I went to make him his breakfast. He ate, and I sat in the living room. I felt the tears about to fill my eyes, but Noah finished quicker than normal and he came charging towards me. He grabbed my hand, and I kinda half jokingly said "I think we need some space right now"...and he actually got agitated, almost like he understood exactly what I had said. I simply just asked him then "well, do you want a hug?" He jumped up on the couch and hugged me harder than he has before, and for a solid two minutes. That's a very, very long time in our world. And immediately, all my frustrations from early melted away. These are the moments we live for. And that love, or even saying you're sorry, doesn't need words to be felt. Actions speak louder than words they say, and maybe there's a reason for that.
It's now going on 3pm and Noah still hasn't matched that red flash card for me, and you know what, it's okay. It really is. This motherhood may be harder than anything imaginable, but it has taught me more that I could have asked for. About being flexible, and about realistic expectations. And that the greatest thing in this life, is just love. Simple as that.