Around the time that Noah was about 7 years old we stopped eating out at restaurants. I hated that we had to do that because we had been having lunch or dinner on Sundays out with my parents but it had just become too overwhelming for Noah and he’d have meltdowns and you could tell he was just miserable. Plus that made it un-enjoyable for all of us. So we stopped.
In the past year, Noah has grown up so much. He wants to do things or is able to do things that I never thought he’d want to do, like art projects and painting or attending the Christmas Eve Candlelight Church Service so recently J and I decided to give eating out a try. Over Christmas break at my parents, Noah had eaten chips and cheese dip that had been brought home from the Mexican restaurant and really enjoyed them so we chose a small Mexican restaurant. We sat at a booth and Noah sat in his wheelchair at the end of the table and did so well. His behavior was awesome. He didn’t get loud or upset and he just loved the chips and cheese dip and made a mess (he even had cheese dip in his hair!) but we didn’t care; we were just happy he was being so well behaved!
The next Saturday night, we found ourselves without a PCA and on that side of town again. Noah pointed in the direction of the Mexican restaurant and signed please so we tried it again. I kind of wanted to see if the first time had been some sort of fluke or something but nope, it wasn’t a fluke. He did awesome again!
J and I decided to get really brave and this past Saturday asked my parents if they wanted to have dinner with us – and Noah! – in honor of J’s birthday. I was nervous about the aspect of bringing them along (at times in the past Noah has become more overwhelmed when it’s all of us) but wanted to give it a try.
I’m happy to report, that once again, Noah was AWESOME! He behaved so well and happily sat next to his Granddad. He ate well, chatted a little bit, and even though it was really loud (and there was even a baby crying nearby at one point which usually upsets him) he never got upset or acted out at all.
It seems so normal doesn’t it, to have dinner at a restaurant with your family? The second Saturday, I remember looking across the booth at J, smiling, and saying, "This feels so normal." But it’s something that many of us probably take for granted. I know I did before and I’m just thankful that for now, we are able to enjoy an occasional dinner out as a family.
Linked to 5 Minutes for Special Needs