In a world where the phrases “mommy wars” and “mean girls” are part of our vocabularies, it’s a special moment worth sharing when one woman gives another woman a great compliment.
Thursday was an exceptionally long and challenging travel day for me and Maya. Between multiple flight delays, multiple potty visits (hers and mine), the anxiety of an accident on the plane, being 31 weeks pregnant (’nuff said), exhaustion from carrying bags and pushing the stroller and carrying Maya when it was necessary … I was just a wreck. By the time we got off the plane and saw my sister, it was all I could do not to cry as I hugged her.
After eight hours of solo travel with a 2.5 year old … I just needed a break. (Single parents who do this type of travel all the time with your little one(s) … you have my props and my empathy!!)
In spite of the fact that Maya is generally a great lil traveler (and quite adaptable) I didn’t realize just how much I relied on Luis til this trip. Although most of our early plane trips were just me and Maya (due to his MBA and work schedules), he’s been on nearly all of them the past year and a half when she’s been really mobile … meaning he could take her for a walk when she acted up and I could stay with the luggage; I could get a beverage while he stayed with her. I could sleep on the plane. I could use the restroom in peace. Of course, none of that is possible when traveling alone.
My dad was waiting for us outside so my sister helped me down to baggage claim. There, a woman who had been on my flight (a seat in front of us but diagonal) tapped me on the shoulder.
“I just wanted to let you know … you are such a good mom. You can just tell; the care and attention you paid to your daughter … it reminded me of traveling with my kids when they were young. She was an angel. Good job, Mom!”
I was speechless. There I was, was feeling like the world’s worst mom at that moment; hating myself for feeling so frustrated at the day’s events and worried I’d been short with my poor kiddo when in all fairness to her it was a loooong and challenging day for ALL of us.
But this woman … this woman must have seen through the frazzled, heavily-pregnant nutcase and only saw the good — maybe she caught the tender hugs I was giving Maya as she dozed off to sleep or how I rubbed her forehead like my mom did (and still does!) to me; how we sang songs when she woke and talked the whole landing process through (she is fascinated by planes; I still am to this day!).
I have no idea what she saw that made her say what she said, but it made my day. I started to cry (damn hormones!) and told her as much; how it meant so much to hear — coming from another woman and, most important, another mom.
It’s not that moms “need” validation they are good; we are good moms because we love our children and would do anything for them. And I hear it from Luis, family and friends … but hearing it from a stranger?! That doesn’t happen every day. And the couple times it has happened to me, my heart has exploded with love and pride because motherhood is HARD. For as rewarding as it is, it can be really hard.
I’m not a perfect mom — far from it — but knowing that others can see beyond the surface and into the heart of the matter … well, that’s just priceless. That woman — who I will surely never come across again — left quite a lasting impression on me.
And though I like to think I tell my family and friends how wonderful I think they are, I am sure I fall short. This airport example reminded me I need to make the effort even more; to go that extra mile.
Because it’s so true: you just never know who you might impact with your kindness.
How about you? What’s the nicest thing a stranger has ever said to you?