The other day that mom with the little boy who was making so much commotion in the fast food restaurant noticed you staring at her. He was a handful, wasn't he? His screaming was incessant and the way he was challenging his mother: unacceptable. It's understandable that you would never allow your own children to holler at you like that or bounce between the booths. You found yourself wondering what would possess her to bring such an unruly child out into public in the first place. As your respectful children stood beside you in silence, you wondered when he would just be quiet. And you wondered what kind of mother she must be.

If you only knew what his mom wonders.

She wonders what she can do to get him to stop screaming. She’s tried everything she can think of. Sometimes it lasts all day, and lately, it's been almost every day. Yet, while you put your kids back in the car, his mom wonders if he'll keep his seat belt on for the entire ride home. You will get back to your house and yours will head right upstairs to play together nicely. She wonders if he'll decide it's time to begin switching the lights on and off repeatedly, or throw to everything that's on the desk onto to the floor.
     When your kids fall down, you can ask them where it hurts and they can tell you. It hurts the other mom that all she can do is hold her little boy and wonder when he'll stop crying. Later, while you wonder what story you will read to your child tonight, the mom you know nothing about will once again cry herself to sleep in her husband's arms.

     You wonder later why God would give any child to "that kind" of parent, yet she's thankful he is hers. You judge the stranger based on the one time you saw her with her child, while she wonders why you didn't just ask if you could help. Maybe she wouldn't have taken it, but she would have appreciated the gesture.
     Your four-year-old has mastered the art of conversation. She finds it triumphant that her son mumbles, "go school" and "want eat." You already wonder what your child's high school prom will be like. Meanwhile the other mom wonders when her four-year-old will potty train.
     You wonder who your little one will marry someday, while the mom with the rambunctious son worries that he may not graduate from high school. You plan to send your child to the best university, and the lady that you never met wonders if she'll have to care for hers as he becomes an adult.
     While she's not jealous that your kids obey, talk and dream, she does wonder what it would be like to see her son as "normal." He is who he is; there's no altering that, and his mother wouldn't change him for the world. But feeling your eyes burn through her melts her soul. She does the best he can, and wonders why you judge them both.
     She doesn't ask for your sympathy, just your understanding. Her family puts a lot of time and effort into helping him become the best somebody he can be. You don't see it, but that's all right, because his mom sees it every day. She sees the victories as well as the defeats.
     You cast your judgment based on the one day you saw the unruly child in public. No one faults you for that, because the other mom used to do the same thing, back before her son's diagnosis. All the mom asks of you today is compassion and consideration.
     Tonight, when you tuck your kids into bed, be thankful for the children you have and for who they are. Understand that, while you are getting butterfly kisses from your little angel, there are parents wondering when theirs will be able to say the words, "I love you."

Published by Jon R Gilbert