I think I've approached the age with Will where I can't take him out to a restaurant anymore. Last week I met up with a good friend, whom I haven't seen in quite a while. We both have had a lot of things going on in our life since we last spoke, and honestly, I really needed some girl time. The first thing I did wrong was think that I could have an open, authentic conversation with my girlfriend while having my little around. NOT. William was all over the place. We chose a Vietnamese restaurant for some salmon spring rolls and vermicelli. Looking back, I think the wait staff at this mom-n-pop place were scared when they saw us sit down because they knew what would come.
The fact of the matter is you can't share your heart on the things you're struggling with when your son is reaching for the Siracha. Or when he's waving the chopsticks around like numchucks (how does he even know how to do that?!), and sticking them in the delicious peanut sauce. Or when he tries to help himself to your friend's fried rice, and his aim is not quite on par yet, so 85% of the contents of the spoon end up on the floor (I think the wait staff just LOVED that.. have you ever tried to sweep up rice?!) Or when he throws a tantrum because mommy won't let him run about the restaurant, harassing other diners, shoe-less because he insists on kicking his flip flops off every time we sit down.
The longer we sat there, and tried to eat, the more stressed out I became. I was embarrassed that my son was acting that way, and bummed out that my friend and my convo was constantly interrupted. Knowing that I couldn't give 100% of myself to neither my friend nor my son stresses me out. I desperately wanted the time with my friend, but Will wanted my attention also.
I waived my white flag about 10 minutes after our dinner came, apologized, and told her that we just need to go back to our house and finish dinner there. He was becoming more irrational by the minute, and I knew it wasn't going to end well if we stayed. I hate to sound dramatic, but I felt defeated.
My friend extended such grace to me the entire time. She tried keep Will entertained. She let him eat her fried rice, and helped feed him. She helped me pack up my food, and she even paid for my dinner. It's silly to even feel embarrassed, because it's not like I can control him, but I did.
Once we got back to my house, we set up our dinner on the patio, so Will could play and we could eat. Almost immediately, the stress melted away. Will was perfectly happy dumping sand out of the sand box, and playing with the tractors, and my friend and I finished our food and conversation.
A few lessons learned.. for one, no restaurants for a while with my boy. It's just not worth the stress. Secondly, I want to be better at spending time with my friends. I'm realizing that I am much more introverted and hermit-like than I thought I was. I am in a stage of life that is incredibly busy, and I've fallen off the radar socially. Time with my friends is life-giving. Also, it is so easy for me to give grace and be helpful to others, but I have a terrible time receiving it. I guess its a pride issue, that I think I should be able to do it on my own. Typically, when I see a failure, I devise a plan on how to not fail in that way again. This just makes me more self-reliant, and also sets me up for more failure, because failure is inevitable. I get nowhere. I need to recognize and admit that I will fail, and accept God-given grace, in whatever form it comes in. That day, it was in the form of my amazing friend, who made me feel so loved and supported. I am THANKFUL for friends like her, who can see that I'm struggling, step in, and love me anyway.