We followed the waitress to a table (strategically I’m sure) located in a secluded corner of the busy restaurant. Sunday traffic had flooded the dining room with those fresh from the pews and the place was packed. We don’t typically go to lunch with the small army, unless of course it’s Costco (hello, I can feed the whole famdamly for $12.50, thank you very much) which the baby associates with pizza, his favorite, and screams the word out any time he sees insignia of the giant store. We may eat too much pizza. Or too much Costco. Or both. Don’t judge me.
Anyway, we followed the waitress back to the table in the back, far away from all the other respectably sized families, and spread out the menus and crayons. Thank you Lord for kids menus you can draw on. A midst the what do you wants and the I’m not telling you again to put that downs I didn’t notice the little lady who was sat beside us. That is, not until she turned around.
She was dressed in a pink track suit, with a Kindle in her hands and a necklace with two small metal charms on it. She peered at me through her glasses and nodded her head topped with springy curls.
“You’ve got well behaved kids there.” she said.
I tried not to fall of my chair and was successful in biting back a comment reminiscent of just give it time, sweetheart.
Instead I thanked her for her comment and she continued with “I didn’t want to sit here. I saw all them kids and thought I’d want to sit somewhere else. But your children are very well behaved.”
Dear reader, mark it down on the calendar. This was a compliment this mamma needed. Because what she didn’t know was how often that felt off the mark.
She didn’t know about the first name basis with the principal.
She didn’t know about the hours spent trying to calm the tantrums.
She didn’t know about the sleepless nights wondering what it was I could do to calm the broken hearts of my children.
She didn’t know about the tears shed and the prayers whispered that begged for peace. Peace in my home. Peace in my heart. Peace in our spirits.
She didn’t know that today I would be home with my seven year old, because he needed a mental health day. Because the last few weeks at school have been so hard, and the only answers anyone seems to have for me involves pharmaceuticals, which haven’t worked. She didn’t know that I could tell from the moment he walked out of his room that today wouldn’t be a good day, so I did something I’ve never done before-kept him home when he wasn’t ill.
The world sees this boy and decides that he’s hyperactive. They decide that I should pump his little body full of amphetamines and call it good. What they don’t see is the boy that I do. The one who so desperately wants to be liked that he pushes too far. They don’t see the child calmly doing the art project while his brother steals the pieces of construction paper. They don’t see the child who climbs in my lap to read a story. They don’t see the eyes that beg for grace. They don’t see the kid who loves to run and play and drive his remote control truck.
They see an action and they think they’ve got him figured out. Male + busy = ADHD. I see hope + fear = anxiety. There’s a difference.
It’s a hard road, this mommyhood. One with much comparison and little encouragement.
I often find myself wrapped in a web of doubt. One that reminds me how my family is not your typical Brady Bunch. My kids come from different backgrounds and different parenting styles and here in these four walls we just try to blend them all together. Some days it works. Other days it looks like a finger painting by the toddler. But I’m learning that this is okay.
Each day is won in small victories. Like today. We’ll do some school work and some crafts. We’ll not worry about checking in before and after recess. We wont worry about being asked to play. We wont look at the phone and dread the principal’s number. We’ll take a mental health day, and hopefully tomorrow will be better.
Linking up today with