Sunday, March 23, 2008

an open letter

to the people in the restaurant for easter brunch (but really, to all the people in every restaurant that this applies to),

i am sincerely sorry that my teething baby was crying during brunch. i did everything i could do...bounced, sang, patted, offered toys and tried to feed her. i even got up and walked as far from the dining area as i could get as soon as it was clear that she was more than fussy. and i bounced and swayed and sang and tried with all my might to soothe her. but she was just so uncomfortable.

i don't know what more you wanted from stand out in the rain with her? why did you all glare and grunt at me with mental daggers as if i had gotten up this morning intending to ruin your day?

don't you realize that all of it was so much more awful for ME than for any of you? that i was humiliated to be disturbing any of you? that i was hungry and did not get to eat? that my back hurt and arms ached from trying to comfort her for so long? that i was lonely and feeling left out (as usual) as everyone else ate their fresh and hot food at our table, laughing and talking and enjoying themselves? did you see that i was crying too, feeling that these particular parts of parenting are more than i bargained for? did you see how exhausted i was from not getting much sleep for weeks on end now?

see, i've been where you were. i've been annoyed at crying babies and though "oh just DO something woman!" and now i see...she IS doing everything she can...she's doing it by herself, while her food gets cold and stale, while the world spins madly on, she bounces and rocks and sways and sings and cries from the exhaustion and embarrassment. it is a very lonely place standing in your sunday best by the cold doorway that leads out of the restaurant, hoping (for so many reasons) that your child will calm down and rest.

so, i'm sorry that you had a brief disruption to your meal, but please, PLEASE, the next time this happens, could you please look at the mother with gentle eyes and compassion? she desperately needs to know someone sees her side of the story.

kaia's mommy


James Wood said...

Dude, you're one of the good ones (great, I might add). You know how with Dave Ramsey it hurts for the short term to get some really awesome returns in the long run? Good.

emilykaypeters said...

Oh how I have been there too. It is so hard when your baby is crying and you can't do anything about it. It just hurts my heart. You remembered patience and you still love your daughter even though you couldn't eat. I wish that people (especially people who are parents) what it was like when their baby wouldn't quit crying. But it will get better one day. I hope!!

LoriLoo310 said...

Oh how well I know that pain. Sometimes people need a good knock upside the head to remind them how hard early parenthood really is. You are doing a great job. You are a strong, beautiful mother. Kaia is so lucky to have you.

PS We need pictures of the beautiful little girl!

breanna said...

hamay (it's been awhile since i used the RIGHT name james!) you sure do have a way with words, and quite honestly your comment sure did make me feel loads better. thank you kindly.

emily...thanks! and i'm so sorry about the strep throat (i saw it on yourspace)

lori...thanks for saying so. beautiful i'm not so sure of...but thanks just the same. and really? people are bored to tears of baby pics? well alright then! baby pics it is!

Karen said...

Though I was not physically there, I want to offer a letter on behalf of someone who was....

Dearest Kaia's Mommy,

I was one of the onlookers at your Easter Brunch. I wanted to tell you that I saw you walk in with the hopes of it being a memorable morning, though memorable not in the way it ended up.

I saw you doing everything you could to soothe little kaia. I saw you walk around...I heard you singing...the way you gently rubbed her back...the offerings of love...

I also saw the looks on the others faces. I saw there disgust and frustration. I saw the people sitting closest to you trying to ignore you...pretending they could not hear...

I understand your reaction to the morning. I understand why you walked away feeling humiliated. I have suffered embarrassment and scorn before...though I did nothing to deserve it. I understand your loneliness when every one turns their back on you. I understand the longing in your heart to want things to have been different.

There is one thing...after seeing the entire situation, you are not the one needing to offer the apology. On behalf of the ones actually needing to feel sorry for their attitudes and actions, I want to apologize.

I am sincerely sorry you had to endure scorn and harshness from people that were given an opportunity to reach out in love and kindness.

I am sincerely sorry they sat there with their snickers and scowls instead of seizing the moment to speak words of encouragement, comfort and support into the life of a young mother.

I am sincerely sorry they were so caught up in their own lives and agendas, they missed a chance to impact the lives of other fellow human beings.

I am sincerely sorry they missed out in recognizing the blessing that kaia is and could have extended a hand in comfort to such a beautiful baby.

I am sincerely sorry they saw this mother and screaming child as a disruption instead of a divine appointment.

I did see your side of the story. I did feel your pain. I was there and I want you to know how proud I am of you. When I looked at you I didn't see a disturbance or a nuisance or a humiliation.

I saw sacrifice. I saw one person with such a heart of love that she was willing to lay aside her agendas, plans and even her plate for the benefit of another. Greater love doesn't exist. From my perspective, I could think of nothing more beautiful and lovely to see.

I've seen this before. I've been witness to sacrifice, and only once have I had to look away. I promise though for you, I will not look away! I will not shoot daggers at you with my eyes. I will offer gentle eyes and compassion.

I promise I will speak words of encouragement and love. I promise I will see kaia for the treasured gem that she is. I promise to always offer comfort and grace.

Next time, you are in a similar experience and scanning the room looking at the various faces, please look for mine. See my face and hear my voice.

I will be there to see your side of the story.

In all My love,


Brandi said...

Your post broke my heart. I'm sure I've been one of those onlookers in the past. I'm sorry. I have no idea what a child is like.. I will never again have the same feeling toward a screaming child.

breanna said...

karen- thank always know just what to say, and how to remind me of the bigger picture.

brandi- me too...i've been a major complainer of other people's kids in the past...i never realized what it was like for them.