Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Wonderfully Normal Mother's Day Dinner at a Nice Chinese Restaurant

He was a perfect gentleman.  He used his fork to eat his noodles and broccoli.  He used his words to ask  for more ice.  He waited patiently for more meat and he used his napkin.  Josh handled dinner out tonight with absolute peace and grace.  It was the best Mother's Day of my life.

This year I took a great, risky leap forward into the world of "what normal families do" and suggested that we go out to dinner as a family at a nice Chinese restaurant.  I was pretty nervous about it all day.  We've had many powerfully stressful moments at restaurants and have tended to avoid them almost entirely as a family.  It's hard enough to manage Josh's sensory needs but our girls can also be a handful in new situations.  However, in my heart of hearts, this is what I wanted.  I realized that it meant more to me to do something "normal" like going out to dinner than to have a massage or any other material gift.  And I thought we might be ready

Of course, we were still strategic about our outing.  We made reservations for 5pm and asked for a table way in the back corner.  We brought Josh's headphones and ipod in case it was too loud or in case there were crying babies around.  I prepped the girls all day on how we behave in restaurants and how we might need to leave if their brother was not doing well.  I thought through the menu ahead of time, planning for what might work for the kids to eat.

It went really well.  Alex and I even had a little bit of adult conversation about how our morning had gone at church while the children ate their food quietly (momentarily).  After the food was eaten and the fortune cookies were inhaled, we drove down the street to our local municipal airport and yelled at helicopters together.  Josh sat in the car, blissfully listening to music, laughing his head off at something only known to him.

One thing that being a mom of a special needs child has taught me is that "normal" can be so precious.  We don't always get "normal".  In fact, being different is really the true constant -- for most of us.  And "normal" is really so subjective, really.  But, every once in a while, you get to the place where you get to do something that (it seems) many other people get to do . . . and it's so nice.


  1. Great photos! You all look so relaxed there! I meant to say how nice that skirt you wore today looks -- really pretty on you!

  2. So glad you got your heart's desire for Mother's Day. Happy belated mother's day dear friend.

  3. Thanks Susan for sharing and it really helps us appreciate "normal" in a new way. You are an amazing family and an inspiration!

  4. Nice post, Susan. I'm so glad you had a nice day with your crew. Makes me happy to just hear about that!

  5. Dear Susan,
    Great story; great pictures! Josh, Hope and Anna really look grown-up! (You and Alex do too.)
    Miss you!

  6. So happy to read this Susan. If anyone deserves a fabulous Mother's Day, it is you.