For three evenings in a row last week my Mom watched the Roc while GC and I ran around to different dealerships in search of a car to replace my crumpled Camry. The first two nights she watched him at our house, we came home to find her resting on the couch the first night, and reading to the Roc the second. The third night we went car shopping my Mom had plans, so we were at the gas station, with Roc in tow, when she called to say she had gotten home from her outing and did we decide when we were going to go out looking for a car again.
“Right now actually, we are at the gas station, the Roc’s in the backseat,” I told her.
“Well see if he wants to come here instead, I’ll watch him that way you can go alone,” she immediately replied.
Whew, I felt a balloon of air leave my chest, I didn’t even know I was that wound up about bringing him with. I had packed a little cooler of food, the portable DVD player, movies, books, markers and paper. I figured we would make it to the one dealership, an hour away, and the Roc and I would sit outside while GC negotiated. I was actually dreading it.
After asking the Roc if he wanted to go to Grandma’s instead of car shopping, to which he immediately said yes, we changed course and headed over to my Mom’s house. I quickly dropped his stuff in the door and left. He wasn’t phased at all. GC and I went on our way, down to the dealership where we negotiated, GC got fed up, walked out, I begged to go back and buy the car I wanted, he held fast, the dealer was actually being really jerky, I was super bummed and stressed. After talking to him on the phone again from a parking lot 2 minutes down the road I too agreed that the dealer was a jerk, we would move on. We went to the final dealership of the night, it was getting close to closing time, and we ended up test driving and then buying a car. Weeee!
It was then that I started to wonder about the Roc. It was late, past his bedtime, past my parents bedtime. This was the third night in a row that my Mom was spending with him. I hoped they were okay, that the Roc wasn’t throwing any tantrums, or giving my Mom a lot of grief. I hoped she wasn’t sick of entertaining and dealing with him. I was a little nervous when we finally pulled up to their house. My dad was outside with the dogs and GC stayed out to show him our new (to us) car, while I headed inside to see how the Roc and my Mom were faring.
The house was quiet, I called out for them, walking first down the hallway thinking they might be reading stories in one of the bedrooms, I headed back to my parents bedroom next, wondering if he was taking a bath in their giant bathtub. Walking back into the kitchen I saw faint flickering lights on the screened in porch out back, I smiled. I slid open the door, stepped out into the darkness, and saw their lumpy forms under an afghan on the couch.
“Where’s Roc? I cannot find him anywhere?” I said loudly.
“Shhh!” My Mom stage whispered to the Roc.
The afghan was wiggiling and the Roc was giggling. I thumped down on the couch next to the smaller lump and the Roc squealed, “We’re having a sleep over on the porch Mommy!!!”
My Mom poked her head out and said, “How did it go? Did you come back with a car?”
“Yup! It’s out front!” I started to tell her about our failed negotiation at the first dealership when the Roc interrupted me and demanded she get back inside the “tent.”
“Okay! Here I come!” she enthusiastically replied.
“How did it go? Was he okay for you? Thank you so much Mom, there was no way we would have been able to do what we did tonight without your help,” I told her.
It was true. We would have stalled out at the first dealership. There was no way we would have been able to negotiate and then think clearly with him present, vying for my attention.
My mom poked her head back out, “He was wonderful Kim, we had a great time, he did such a nice job here, he was so good.” she gushed. She went back under the blanket. She and the Roc where talking, he was giggling.
I leaned back against the couch, looked out into the night and felt my throat close up with tears…
She said wonderful.
She thinks he is wonderful.
She had fun with him.
For the third night in a row.
She enjoyed him.
She sees my son.
She really sees him.
This is why we moved. Not only to “get help” with him, though that is what we said, what we thought while we struggled through the tough times alone in Delaware.
What I really wanted all along was for someone to see my baby. For all the good, and the fun, for the silly, and the smart.
To see him not as a list of can’t do, won’t do, never going to do, a list of behaviors to squash, challenges to beat, or a child broken…but a wonderful child worth celebrating.
The Roc giggled uncontrollably, spewed out a few lines from the movie “Despicable Me.” He was falling into silly. It was late.
“Oh Roc, I love you, you are such a silly, funny kid,” my Mom told the Roc as she pulled him to her.
My heart swelled as I watched them together. I blinked back tears as I stood up. It was time to get the Roc home. Time to let my parents go to bed. My dad was headed to bed as we brought the Roc out to see our new car. We hugged my mom goodbye and I said thank you again, knowing that she could not know how thankful I really am.
So Thank You Mom.
Thank you for loving my child, for taking the time to meet him where he is right now, for celebrating all that is good about him.
Thank you for seeing him.
It means everything to me.