“Oh, Momma, it will be ok.” “Oh, Momma, this stage does not last.” “Oh, Momma, I feel your pain.” That is how I am feeling the past few weeks. I find that I am either repeating these words to myself or someone else, on a daily basis.
I recently was traveling to assist my youngest son in moving. He is 19. He has lived away from home taking the controversial “gap-year” here in the US, for the past 12 months…..which is ironically so common in Europe. Anyhow, as I was making my way through the security checkpoint I noticed a stir in the line. TSA agents were moving travelers from one line to another in a hurried fashion; and all my agent had to say, is “you probably want to be in the line without the puke.” Thank you TSA, I couldn’t agree more with that statement.
Confused by this statement (a usual state, as of late), I continued past the agent. It was only on the other side of the checkpoint, that I finally knew what he was referring to. There in front of me, was a young mother traveling solo with a toddler…. Solo, with a toddler those words alone are enough to produce a blockbuster horror film. In a stroller is sweetest little, cherub-looking blonde baby girl, no more than 18 months. Not only was mom having a rough day, little miss blondie was as well. She had not simply “spit-up.” No, she had full-blown, green-pea soup, levitating off the bed lost her lunch. She cried that cry of a child who was sick. A cry that any mother (or father) can recognize, and your gut just cringes because we have been there, and we know it is bound to happen…again….but when?? We wait, in anticipation for the next wave to begin.
I would liken a sick toddler to a category 5 hurricane. You see it coming, you know it’s going to be bad, you “think” you know where it will land…..and BAM, it changes course and unleashes it’s wrath, at the most inconvenient time.
I wanted so badly to help this warrior mom. I was observing her best effort to travel with this tiny human. I almost felt guilty for watching, knowing I could not help at the moment. It was like slow-motion train-wreck; this able-bodied adult was now being brought to her knees by her 25 pound offspring…… In the middle of a TSA checkpoint nonetheless, with no help around.
I was pushed through the line as I was at the mercy of the agents. I kept watching. I know, it sounds like I am that creepy looker in line. It was not like that. I then saw a woman who was probably in her late 50’s, early 60’s, She arrived to help this warrior mom who was looking quite defeated at this point. I figured it was her mother, or at least someone she knew. The new woman started right away to diligently help clean and calm the tiny human. They made their way up to where I was still waiting for my scan. This warrior momma had the tiny human in tow in her arms at this time; the stroller was rolling away (of course it was), and she was trying to get her sandals off and could not. This beautiful woman was simply trying to get through the security checkpoint. I watched her struggle with trying to manage all of the chaos for a split second.
Instinctively I bent down in front of the mother, and asked her to place her foot down. I reached to take her stubborn sandals off. I did not even think to ask her if it was ok if I did so. I simply, “did.” The other women proceeded to capture and conquer the misbehaving stroller. I realized instantly, she did not know other woman either. However, we both came together to help this fellow woman.
She graciously thanked us both and I giggled slightly, and told her not to worry. One day she will realize that she blinked and this tiny cherub child will be grown. She will be taking a flight to move her once tiny human into her college dorm, and this day will seem like a million years ago. I welcomed the opportunity to help her.
The three of us parted ways. Here we were. Three women, three mothers. I know nothing else of the two, but only those two facts. We were three women, in three very different phases of life. This young mom with her vomiting toddler in the middle of an airport; the older mother who now has grandchildren; and myself somewhere in-between.
This experience has resonated with me this entire weekend. It reiterated to me the power of “the tribe.” The power of simply being present and in the moment to lend a hand, a word of encouragement, even a smile. We ALL have the power to make someone’s day a little better.
We live in a time where there is so much judgement, so much hate, so much self-preservation that we so many times miss opportunity. WE are not here to eat our young, and when I mean young, I mean judging mothers who are having a bad day, week or hell, even year. We have all “been there, done that.” We should not be so quick to judge another mother who is struggling just to make it through her day. We have all been there. It is so easy to forget the days where simply brushing our teeth was something we had to schedule into our day when our children are no longer small. We must lend a hand, to lift another woman up in her time of need.
As women, we are so stressed to perform. We are pressured to be the perfect daughter, wife, mother, employee and friend. Life is MESSY, isolating, and simply hard somedays. Somedays life just vomits all over you in the TSA checkpoint, and your life stroller is rolling away. Your world may feel like this.
Who is your person, or your people? Who do you call up like a storm ravaged community calls FEMA after the hurricanes of life hit your shores? Who is there help you wipe up and clean the mess up when it comes unexpected? It is not only important to have those connections, but it is just as important to BE that person for someone else.
We can get so wrapped up in where we need to be, what we need to be doing. We need to look beyond just getting to the proverbial point “b.” I challenge you today to not be afraid to just walk up and take someones shoes off……ok, maybe not literally take their shoes like I did. I don’t want to see any local headlines of a shoe thief. However, be willing to put yourself out there to be the thing that someone else needs.