It's late Sunday afternoon, and we've just arrived at a diner with a bunch of family. We weren't sure Max would be into it; he's only been to this restaurant once before and he tends to only like familiar food places, and ones that aren't too loud.
Everyone heads to the table except Max and Dave. We sit down and I watch the two of them through the window, strolling around the parking lot. I ask the waiter to find me a purple (obsession no. 1) crayon and a red one too. Then I call Dave on the cell. "Bring him inside, I'll meet you," I say, and head back to the entrance. Max stays with me there and Dave walks back to the table.
I stoop down and give him a big hug. "Max, there are purple crayons here!" I tell him. "Do you want to draw some pictures of spaghetti?" (obsession no. 2).
"ESSSSSSSS!!" ["YESSSSSSSSS!"] says Max, and he lets me lead him back to the table.
For a few minutes, we draw pictures of plates of purple spaghetti (and a swirl of red sauce) with the words "Max eats spaghetti sauce" written at top. Mostly, Max wants me to do the drawing; it's not easy for his hand to grasp the skinny crayon. Finally, he makes some squiggles, and gives me an "I did it!" glance of triumph. Then I sing him a couple of songs, tossing in the word "spaghetti" as much as possible, which cracks him up. "Old MacDonald had some spaghetti....." and "It's raining spaghetti!" (sung to the tune of "It's Raining Sunshine," as he's got a crush on iCarly). And then, a bowl of chocolate ice-cream (he had a late lunch, so he just wants dessert). Dave feeds him so I can down some food.
"I'm very impressed with Max," says my brother-in-law Lee. Yes. But actually, I am kind of impressed with me for keeping the calm.
For most of life, I'm too busy doing things—or too immersed in worries—to give myself props for mommy-ing Max. Actually, the same is true for mommy-ing Sabrina, who comes with her her own challenges (most of which involve a stubborn streak the size of Texas). But Max gives me a certain kind of parenting insecurity. Plenty of times, I'm just not convinced I'm doing the right thing or helping him as much as I can (and I suspect I am not alone here in feeling this way about my child). I swear, I'd like my tombstone to read "She did enough."
Every once in awhile, though, I feel really good about stuff I've done for him. Like when I've been able to keep him from freaking out, as I did at the diner. Or when I make him laugh really hard. Or when I teach him to articulate new words. Or when I coax him into doing something that's challenging, like climbing up the stairs without my holding onto him (but you bet I've got his back). These are the moments when my mom pride shines through.
Of course, I also love it when people tell me how handsome he is...and that he looks like me. He, he.
How about you: What moments give you mom pride, the ones where you think, yeah, I am doing a good job? Have you had one recently?
This is the third in a series of posts sponsored by P&G, for whom I'm covering The Special Olympics—they're a sponsor. "Like" their Thank You, Mom Facebook page and they'll donate $1 toward Special Olympic Team USA's journey to the World Summer Games in Athens.