The waiting room was crowded. I found one seat but not two together. M stood by the door and waited.
The crowd was what you might expect. Adults looking very uncomfortable and trying to distract themselves from their full bladders. One gentleman in a wheelchair. A few people clearly waiting for someone who had already ventured back to the exam rooms for an ultrasound or xray.
Poking out of a stroller, just two seats down from me, was a cast. A tightly wrapped cast concealing the bottom half of a baby leg. I couldn’t see the baby behind the hood of the stroller but the legs said it all. Glorious baby pudginess, right down to the cast.
The stroller faced a woman about my age with blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. Next to her a boy, probably about age 4 or 5, hung onto the arm of her chair.
The baby seemed content but the boy, he required some entertaining. He and his mother talked about waiting. He asked why they were waiting. She compared it to being in school and waiting in line. She played clapping games with him. She watched him with a smile as he taught the game to the baby in the stroller. They talked about lunch and what they would eat when they returned home. The boy whimpered in some kind of pain and the mother quietly comforted him. The baby in the stroller fussed and she tended quickly and quietly.
Not once did either child reach the stunning octaves that I know uncomfortable children can reach. Not once did they fuss for longer than a few seconds. Not once did the mother’s tone exhibit any kind of edge.
Through it all, the mother kept calm. She was patient and she was steady. She did not fluster.
A door opened to my right and a nurse called out a name. The mother looked up, calmly corrected the nurse’s pronunciation, and began to collect her brood. As she wheeled the stroller towards the door the nurse exclaimed, “And what happened to you!?”
“Oh she and I fell down a hill together. It’s been a crazy week!” The rest of her explanation was drowned out by the boy, eager to share the story behind his sister’s cast. I could hear him talking as they walked down the hall. I could also hear the nurse, reacting to the story all while prepping the boy for the tests he was about to undergo.
Before they even walked to the door, before I learned that the cast and their trip to the radiology department were unrelated, before I witnessed the mother calmly recounting what sounded like a hellish week to a nurse she had clearly met before, I was in awe of this woman.
Where did her calm come from? With two children clearly experiencing some kind of pain, how did she stay so zen?
And, let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter whether she breastfed or bottle fed or cloth diapered or disposable diapered or any of the other things we’re supposed to be at odds over. She was more than Mom enough.
I didn’t stop her to tell her how amazing I thought she was or how lovely her children were. I wanted to, but I didn’t. Caught up in my own reasons for being there that day. Nervous that what I wanted to convey would not come out through my words. I didn’t give her that boost that I know we all need as moms. I wish that I had.
But I hope someone, somewhere, gave that woman a hug that day. I hope someone told her that she is doing an amazing job.
linking up with Shell for Pour Your Heart Out.
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