I am that mom.
The mom I judged before I was even a mom at all. The mom who made me think Why are you out in public, sister? You need to take that crazy mess of a child home and feed him or put him down for a nap or something. The mom I knew must just ignore her kid, or rarely dish out discipline.
Now I am that mom. I am the mom at Home Goods store with a child screaming so piercingly that you turn your head and can't help but mutter jeeze. I don't blame you; his most intense of screams still make me jolt. I am the mom not yelling at her child, not disciplining in this moment, not instantly gathering our mess of a family to run home. We are past the point of all of that. I am the mom who gathers her screaming son, set off because I said he couldn't have the saxophone toy. Sometimes I buy him something to prevent this moment that I don't always have the strength to weather. We sit for a minute on the floor and I hold him so tight that my love penetrates through to some of his pain. We rock back and forth for a minute while I shoosh in his ear to calm him. It's a Saturday and the crowd of people move so fast all I see are feet in a blur. There are so many moments in parenting when I have no idea what the hell I am doing. Moments when I wish someone could tell me the right thing to do. This moment is not one of them.
I was born to do this.
We sit and rock for a few seconds, until the screaming falls in intensity. His face is purple and covered in tears and sweat. His hands shake in frustration and anger. He is certain if he doesn't get this toy he simply won't survive. I pick up his screaming, bucking body to carry him outside. He is getting so big and it's getting harder to do. I gather us up while my husband goes up to the register to pay. We sit out front where the cool January breeze cuts through the sound of his screams. Toy! Toy!! TOOOOOOOOOYYYYYYYY!!!!!!! Greyson yells at me in a voice filled with rage and frustration. He gets louder, hoping it will make me understand. Not being able to really talk leaves you constantly feeling misunderstood. He's sick and tired of feeling misunderstood. Sometimes having autism really sucks.
And some look over in alarm. But most look with the kindest of eyes that love and support. Some with a sympathetic smile that says, "I've been there too." However, my focus is on my son in my arms. He is beginning to calm. His sobbing transforms into exhausted shuddering.
It hits me. I am that mom.
I am that mom, and these are strangely some of the most sacred moments of parenting. When it isn't easy -- but it's still so good. When God reveals himself to me through my boys. I think back to that mom who I judged from years ago, and I understand important things about life I didn't know then. I'm grateful for the shift in perspective.
I am that mom, and I am so lucky.