(This is long, and mostly therapeutic, but you're welcome to read along with me on my journey of self-discovery!)
I hate it when other people see me struggle.
A few weeks ago, we went back to Kansas for our college homecoming. I wanted to get together with my college roommates, so we decided to meet for dinner. We chose a sit-down Mexican restaurant ... and I'll admit, I chose the location, because our track record had been pretty good lately, and the girls had been happy all day. I took the twins with me, and Tony went out separately with a friend of his. At the restaurant, we were given a corner booth and two highchairs. I should have asked to move immediately, because the high chairs wouldn't really fit near the table. The twins were happy in the beginning, and I had plenty of snacks, but it was a late supper for them, and as we sat, they started to reach their limit. When we ordered, I asked for a cup of tomatoes to tide them over until our food arrived, but maybe my voice was lost in the screeching, because the tomatoes never came.
I asked for booster chairs, thinking that it would make the corner booth situation a little easier, but booster chairs don't have seat belts, so the girls (very vocally) thought they should probably be released from their cruel imprisonment and be allowed to play. I pulled out every snack, toy, and distraction from the diaper bag, while peering over the pile of discarded distractions on the table to try to see my friends, who were mostly staring at us and trying to decide whether to smile encouragingly or swear off having children.
Meanwhile, Tony and his friend came to the restaurant. Tony planned to pick up the girls and take them home while I finished catching up with my friends. However, the food hadn't arrived, so they joined us and chatted while we waited.
As time ticked on, and our food was apparently being imported directly from Mexico, the noise and activity level from the girls was gaining momentum. Not only were they separately hungry and tired of sitting still, they were also more than happy to contribute to each others' protests. We were definitely starting to get glances from other tables, although I want to believe that they were forgiving. Tony and I were trying to smile and speak kindly, because kids feed off of others' emotions, which will only make it worse. (Believe me, though, I was stressed, and I'm sure my roommates know me well enough to have seen through my facade.)
Suddenly, Tony's friend had had enough. "Come on, Tony, let's take the twins outside." I decided I could use some fresh air, too, so Tony and I took the girls out to use their energy until the food came. Really, I wanted to cry. I wanted to say to my childless friends, it's not this bad all the time. In fact, it's not EVER this bad. We're not bad parents who can't control their children, I promise. And until you've experienced it, please don't make judgments.
I'd like to tell you that things got better, but they didn't. By the time the food arrived, the girls were too wound up to eat. Tony ended up leaving with them pretty quickly.
Later, as I was replaying the debacle with Tony, I asked him if we should stop having children. I mean, we obviously can't even control the two that we have, so why in the world should we have more? His response: "No, but we may have to stop eating at restaurants without a play place for a few years."
It's as simple as that. We'll make adjustments to fit this crazy life that we've been given. Looking at the situation from that perspective, I'm embarrassed that I was selfish enough to even ask the question. I'm also embarrassed that I let one stressful situation cloud my perspective on life. I love that guy. (And I still love my kids.)