Thursday, June 24, 2010

Breakfast for three

Every once in a while, we have a babysitter come in on Saturday mornings so she can feed the kids breakfast and my husband and I can go out for a couple of hours. Last Saturday, our five-year-old begged to come and we gave in, leaving Max at home with the sitter. 

As the three of us sat an outdoor cafe downing bagels and eggs, I started thinking about how we'd never be able to do this with Max. He doesn't love sitting in restaurants, let alone outdoor ones. Often, he whines and gets restless. He typically ends up on my husband's lap, and he feeds him. It is not very relaxing for any us.

I thought about how much easier life would be if I had two typical kids. How it would feel to be a parent who doesn't have to think twice about taking her kids out to a restaurant, to the mall, to anywhere. And I felt stricken with awful guilt. I hated myself for thinking that.

I know another mom whose child had a stroke at birth. I met her early on, soon after Max was born. Her son was about four years older than Max. She had two other kids, and she and her husband would go out on weekends with just them while a caregiver stayed home with their son. I judged her for that. I thought it was a horrible thing to leave their child at home and live as if they were a family of four. I vowed I'd never do that to Max, and we haven't. We take him everywhere we go. We do things as a family.

But as I sat there at the breakfast table, having a relaxing meal, I had my first glimmer of understanding about the decision that mother had made. And while I didn't agree, I understood. Suddenly, I understood.


Ellen blogs daily at Love That Max.


  1. Like you, I make it a point to take my child with special needs everywhere we go. This means we skip some things and that we make extra accommodations sometimes -- but it is worth it to feel whole as a family. I also have friends who choose to do things as your friend does. It doesn't fit with my idea of family but I totally - TOTALLY -- get it.

  2. Hi Ellen -- I really 'get' those feelings. It's natural that when you see how typical families operate sometimes you long for the ease they have in doing everyday things. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Typical families often take one child or another without the other children. I have 5 kids, and we have always tried to have alone time with each of them. If Max does not like going to restaurants, his lone time could be somewhere else but your child who does enjoy eating out could enjoy lone time at restaurants. It's crazy to force yourself to go EVERYWHERE as a family of 4 because of Max's disability. It seems that you are trying to make the point that he is not going to be excluded. Well, in many family, kids are excluded for a number of reasons for certain outings, and often because the child prefers it that way. Of course, there should be some whole family time too, but there should be some flexibility in the way you do things.