When my oldest was 16 months old I enrolled her in a gymnastics class in north Phoenix. At the time I was 8ish months pregnant with her brother. We began going on dates after her gymnastics class to a local coffee shop. She got her cookie and chocolate milk and I, of course, some form of coffee. When her brother was born he tagged along, first in a carrier, and soon as a member of our special time. Eventually, my older two began preschool and my dates became with our 3rd and Sonzee in tow in the carrier or stroller. 3 years ago when our middle daughter began school, the dates stopped. Sonzee wasn’t enrolled in gymnastics and while I could have taken her to a coffee place and drank coffee with her in her stroller, it just wouldn’t have been the same.
When our youngest became enrolled in gymnastics this past fall I was looking forward to having our dates. It had been a while since I had a date with a toddler and I was so ready to start them back up. Fast forward to this morning. We have about an hour and 10 minutes between the end of gymnastics and getting sonzee from school, and boss baby is finally at the perfect age to have his attention focus on a cookie and chocolate milk for more than 5 minutes in a chair, so off we went on our date. I snapped pictures, he picked out his chair, I was so excited to be sitting there with him, and he appeared to feel the same excitement. Then I saw the crumbs. Little tiny toddler crumbs on the table, on the chair, on the floor, just staring at me so I grabbed a napkin to wipe them up and then this emotional tidal wave washed over me. Crumbs...the same ones I used to apologize for when we went to this same coffee location with my older kiddos and they were all over the place. The same crumbs the employees used to smile off at me and say “don’t worry about it”, while they grabbed a broom and swept them up. The crumbs that toddlers make but ones that Sonzee has never gotten to make. Cue to the tears.
Now with glossy tear-filled eyes, staring at my son trying to not let the tears fall as I was wiping up crumbs in a coffee shop while trying to get over the emotions quick enough to enjoy the moment of actually being on a date. So many more of these moments keep happening. It's always dual-edged, the same thing I am not taking for granted fills me with dread because Sonzee couldn't or cannot do it. The pain of it continues to get worse for some reason the older she gets. Sure she can unhook her feeding tube and her stomach drainage and make a wet mess, but the reality is, she cannot and won't ever be able to make any crumbs.
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