I sat with my back to them in the other restaurant booth.
Her toddler squealed and giggled and whined –depending on his happiness about what she would or wouldn’t let him play with.
Knives were not okay. He couldn’t have her coffee.
I smiled to myself.
It’s been too long.
Longer than my heart wanted.
But God had other plans.
Pretty soon the toddler peeked his head over the shared seat back and began making chattering noises at me. I turned my head from my laptop and greeted him with a “Hi, sweetie.”
He started playing peekaboo over the shared wall of the booth.
It made me smile.
I played back.
Watcing him made my mamma-heart happy.
I remember that age.
The waitress came to take their order, and his mama put him in the high chair. He fussed and complained as babies do when they don’t get their way.
A few minutes later, when she seemed to be getting overwhelmed, I turned my head again, and said, “I am actually enjoying listening to him.”
“What? I’m sorry! Is he bothering you?” She sounded like she was used to getting complaints.
“No, not at all. I like listening to babies.”
“But he’s fussing.” She kinda snapped a bit, but I knew she was just overwhelmed.
“I miss it. My baby just turned 12.”
“He’s so noisy.” she replied.
“Well, he’s not bothering me.” We were almost the only ones in the restaurant. “I think he’s adorable. Enjoy it while you can. They grow up too fast.”
“He’s such a handful!” She pulled a butter knife out of his hand again.
“Sometimes, it’s the hardest ones to raise that blow you away when they’re grown.”
She shook her head at me, and I just smiled.
Someday, maybe she’d understand.
That it goes by so fast.
That the child that made you want to pull out your hair has the potential to be your greatest source of joy and accomplishment.
That you wish could take back the days when they clung a little too much once they start talking about college and marriage.
Then someday you might wish you could have more but realize it’s not going to happen.
I turned back around and returned to my work on the laptop.
By the time their meal was done she was grumbling under her breath in frustration.
As I got up to leave, I waved goodbye and got a big smile from the little guy.
Big blue eyes smiled back, and a chubby little hand attempted to wave.
When my oldest was two, I was at my wit’s end. He was a challenge. I thought the days of endless battles would never end.
This same child nearly runs my house today with the help of his little brother, so I don’t have to on my bad days. He has a desire to honor his parents and an unshakable sense of right and wrong.
I couldn’t see then what I can see now.
I couldn’t see that as I was raising and shaping that child, God was using him to mature and shape me.
And the days that never seemed to end?
They’re long gone, like a faded memory.
I’m sure I did many things wrong as a young mama. I’ve even apologised for some of those things that I know I did wrong.
What amazes me is that God could take the faltering and sometimes misguided steps of this mama and make something wonderful, and beautiful from it in the lives of my children.
This is not because I’m a great mama. It’s because we serve a great and wonderful God.
If you have a baby, remember that somewhere out there is a lady who wishes she could go through the struggles you have because that would mean she had a baby of her own.
I walked away from the restaurant with a tear in my eye, the little bit of hurt and ache that is left over from not being able to have more babies.
But, I’m learning to trust God, learning to be content with His plan for me.
Love those babies mamas!
They will be grown before you know it.