The Costco pizza line had moved surprisingly fast for a Friday evening. I had our cheese pizza in one hand, and my three-year-old’s hand in the other. I had promised my son and daughter a fountain drink for patiently waiting with me for dinner, so all we needed to do was fill the cups and dart home.
My daughter could not reach the drink dispenser, so I started to grab her cup to get her usual fill of lemonade. But she was adamant about doing it herself…obviously. Still, I doubted she would magically grow the necessary 12 inches in the next few minutes to succeed with this task, so the debate began.
We squabbled and finally I started the crazy juggle of trying to hold onto the pizza, and lift her up simultaneously to fill her drink.
At that moment, a woman came to my rescue. She was a complete stranger, but she immediately rushed to my aid and offered to hold my pizza as I attended to my daughter’s persistence in wanting to fill her drink cup “by myself.”
The woman’s warm brown eyes and smile assured me she had “been there, done that” in earlier years. I thanked her profusely and we were on our way.
Few words were exchanged, but the small gesture meant the world to me. I’m guessing she had kids of her own – likely older – as she gazed at my young, motley crew with happy eyes.
As I walked to my car, I thought about this woman’s random act of kindness, her non-judging demeanor, her willingness to simply jump in and help a mom in need.
Too often, women are quick to judge. We feel the need to justify our decisions about parenting, work, fashion and beyond. We compete with one another, tear each other down, and divide rather than unite. I don’t want to be in that group, I thought to myself.
I want to fall into the other camp of women. I want to jump to another mom’s aid. To help her as she juggles, and give her the reassuring nod that I too have been in the trenches. I want to open the door for the mom trying to navigate the loaded stroller outside. I want to welcome the first-time mom back to the office as she eases back to work. I want to be a sounding board for the mom struggling with the random parenting issues that we’ve all gone through. I want to be the mom that mom was for me.
I know this seems like pretty deep stuff for an evening at Costco, but that exchange in front of the drink display was a moment of clarity for me. Because motherhood is hard enough, and we need all the help we can get.