My husband and I took the boys to a music festival, that was very kid friendly recently. We met my sister, brother-in-law and my preteen niece there. It was maybe the most gorgeous day we have had this year, the music was great, the kids were having a great time, and all in all things were going pretty well. As dinner time was approaching, the conversation turned to where to eat. We should have headed home. We should have known things were going too well and we should just call it a day, but we decided to go to a nearby Mexican restaurant. Gavin, or middle child is two. And is our most… how do I put it... challenging kiddo by far. Sweet, loving, wild, and just really really hard. He screamed bloody murder pretty much from the time we walked in, to the time we left the restaurant. We tried everything to calm him down… bribery, snacks, trips outside, sitting in my lap, you name it. Jay, my husband, wanted to just get our food to go because where is the fun in this, but I needed to nurse the baby, who was tired and hungry, Kaleb, our four year old was happily eating next to his favorite person, my niece, and I wanted to finish my margarita. A waitress even came and tried to bribe Gavin with a toy which he threw on the ground, and as my husband said, “it doesn’t get much clearer than that, they they want us to leave.” We all ate quickly as we could feel the looks from all the tables around us. In my head I could hear the conversations people were probably thinking, “this is why I don’t want kids”, or “our kids will never act that way”, “why don’t they just stay home”, “get that kid under control “, or worse, “they are horrible parents.” There wasn’t anything wrong, he was just done. Tired, hungry, jealous of baby brother, and who knows what else… and he still can’t communicate that with us, so he throws fits. Huge, uncomfortable, extremely loud, head turning fits. We forget sometimes that Gavin is still a baby himself. It’s like as soon as he became a big brother, we expected him to act grown up, but he was only 18 months old when Olivier was born. I’m trying to work on extending him grace, because although he is the size of a four year old, and he is a big brother, he is only two. He is my sweet, strong willed, sticky, funny, loud, precious boy, that I couldn’t possibly love more.
Sometimes on nights like this, I think, “am I strong enough?”, is our marriage strong enough?”, “are the straps on that high chair strong enough?”, “is that margarita strong enough?”. But then I remember that he came from me, my husband, and God, and nothing can be stronger than that.