When I was 15 years younger, I was often concerned more with what others thought than what I thought, wanted, or needed. I was so overly concerned with how others perceived me, that I often lost out on being my true self and honestly having fun.
Right before I was graduating with my PhD, one of my favorite professors talked to me about how my biggest weakness was my lack of confidence. He remarked how he knew my great strengths and abilities since the day he met me, but I didn’t. I knew he was right, but was not sure how to overcome such an obstacle. I tried over the years, but was haunted by what others thought of me and my actions.
Saturday I took little guy to Salado to visit my dad and step-mom. Matthew and I had tiled the front porch and back patio on Friday, but it still needed to be grouted. We both knew doing this with an almost three year old around would be impossible, so I was going to get him out of the house for the morning.
When little guy woke up he was excited to go see Nana and Papa, but really didn’t want breakfast. He also was not running around like his normal self. I wondered if he was sick and even proceeded to pack an extra set of clothes for him and a towel in case he got sick in the car during the thirty minute drive.
Everything was great on the drive and he immediately started playing when we got to Nana and Papa’s house. He even said he was hungry and ate most of a pizza lunchable. As we got in the car to go eat lunch at an adorable little cafe, little guy said he was tired, but it was nap time so I didn’t think much about it.
As we were sitting and eating yummy grilled cheese, little guy was laying on bench with comfy cushions with his head in my lap. He was watching Paw Patrol and extremely content… until…
Until he gagged and started throwing up. I tried to hold it in my hand (why does this even seem possible during these times, but it does), but it kept coming and coming. I was half covered, he was completely covered. My dad tells me the bathroom is behind this half wall and as I get up with the little guy in my arms, I realize the cushions are covered.
When I make it to the bathroom, trying to avoid eye contact with anyone looking, I start to wash my hands and wash little guy down with him screaming and crying. Luckily the spare set of clothes are in my purse. As I strip him down, he looks at me and says in a crying voice, “All my food came out of my mouth.” I try not to laugh and continue the clean up. I realize half of my shorts are covered in vomit. I take them off and wash the one leg in the sink. Of course this doesn’t do much except cause my shorts to be completely soaked on one side.
My dad walks in and asks if we are ok and lets me know the owner of the cafe cleaned everything up. We start to walk out of the restroom and across the entire restaurant to the front door. I stop to apologize to the owner who graciously asks if the little guy is ok.
As I was recounting the story to my sister-in-law, I explained how moments like this build confidence. Fifteen years ago this would be a most embarrassing moment, but now it is just another Saturday with a toddler.
I often tell people, having a baby gave me so much confidence. When I had a kid, I had to stop worrying so much what other people thought. I had to not care if they judged me for stopping breastfeeding and giving my baby formula, having him in daycare while I continued my career, or walking through a restaurant with shorts covered in vomit.