The little Italian inspired restaurant where our journey began.
Our family had taken a trip to a nearby town to check out a new Italian restaurant. We usually save times like this for the weekend, but for whatever reason, we decided to take a chance on a sunny Monday evening. My husband got off work early and I had just picked up my oldest from school, so we headed north to Bristol, Tennessee.
We had it in mind that if we got there before the dinner crowd, our youngest son would be able to cope better with the introduction of a new environment. He has autism so he has a hard time adjusting to anything that isn’t familiar.
We were pleasantly surprised once we got there. We walked in around four o’ clock. We were greeted by a friendly waitress and she told us that we could sit anywhere we would like. Because there weren’t many people there at that time, we were able to grab a table in the corner in case it got busy. Our little guy seems to do better if allowed a place to retreat when he needs a break from the sensory overload.
We had an enjoyable meal and we decided to grab dessert.
Just a few minutes away was one of our favorite bakeries. My mothering instincts determined that our four year old could handle a bit more stretching and we all went inside.
I was caught off guard once we stepped inside the door. It was BUSY.
Busyness and newness are often met with a meltdown.
I could sense the apprehension in my son’s face. I ended up leaving my husband and ten year old to decide on what goodies to bring home while my other son and I headed to the car.
Once we were all back in the car, our youngest announced that he needed to go potty.
My husband took him back inside the bakery only to be told that the bathrooms were under construction.
I took my son’s hand and we quickly walked down the street toward the library. I knew that he was about to bust. In that moment I was feeling like a failure of a mother for not getting him to go before we left the restaurant. I was praying that we would make it to the library restroom before he peed all over himself. Since he is mostly non verbal, we often do not know about his needs until it is almost too late. Then, we are forced into panic mode.
Once inside, the librarian pointed us in the right direction and halfway down the hall we started running. My son had become extra squirmy and I was hoping my fears of having to clean up pee from the library floor were not about to come true.
We made it!
I was relieved and I thanked God for saving us from that potential disaster.
As we walked back out of the bathroom and headed toward the exit, I looked up from our little world to see a meeting room surrounded by glass on three sides. Inside, there were people in business attire sitting around a long table. My first thought was that they must be part of a committee. The next idea that came to mind was the realization that they had watched the entire episode of our potty scene from beginning to end. I was so frantric and distracted by my son’s urgency, that my surroundings must have blurred around me.
As we passed by, my embarrassment almost got the best of me. I hesitated to look up, but when I did, I made eye contact with one of them. All I could see was their grin.
On our drive home I was able to reflect on the moment. I wondered if God had just given me a glimpse into his perception. I thought about what it must have looked like watching this mother and her little boy, hand in hand, racing to the bathroom.
I remembered the smile on the face of the one person that sat at the table in the glass room. I knew it was the face of God.
He had said in that brief encounter that He saw my efforts and He was pleased.
While I was beating myself up for not remembering to have my son use the potty at an appropriate time, God had made a way.
Not only that, He gave me a glimpse of Himself in the middle of the chaos.
My guilt dissolved and I was able look back, laugh, and praise God for HIs provision, love, and tender care.
The meeting room surrounded by glass. I realized that God cares about the little things and has endless mercy!