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The Helper Mom

January 24, 2018 - Stacey Sacco
I ran through the Kroger parking lot. Two kids in the “car cart” with the broken wheel and a baby tied to my back. All three crying were crying because a storm had started while we were in the store. A beautiful summer day had instantly turned into a black mass of fat raindrops and roaring thunder. I was trying to comfort the kids while at the same time rushing them toward the open doors of the van. My cloth grocery bags soaked up every bit of that deluge.

Then a hand grabbed my cart. A woman said, “put the kids in the car and I’ll put your groceries in for you.” I still have no idea who that woman was, but she was willing to stand in that storm for an extra two minutes for me. Maybe no one else could tell the difference between the rain and the tears, but they were there.

That small act of kindness kept me going that day. While drying out produce and changing dripping shoes, her simple gesture kept me from being upset, stressed, anxious and resentful.

Today, I have three kids in school. Iris and I enjoy going to storytime at the library on Wednesday mornings. As we walked down the stairs, I heard right behind me a mom in the midst of the juggling act. I looked back to find her carrying a baby half-crouched so she could attempt to hold hands with two toddlers who were staring wide-eyed at the open-backed stairs. In that instant of watching her try to keep her small brood safe while my three-year-old was shoving my hand away to tell me she could do it all herself, I knew- I could HELP.

I asked if I could carry her daughter down the stairs and then I saw the look that I know. That look of relief. That look that means “someone understands that I’m not failing, it’s just easier with an extra set of hands.” And while my kid left me behind for the greener pastures of the storytime room, I carried that baby down the stairs.

As I remembered those tears in my van years ago, I also remembered the looks of scorn in Target when a kid refused to sit still in the cart. I remembered the sighs of disgust when an overtired baby cried instead of patiently stood in line. I can easily recreate the time just recently that people stood and stared while I tried to stop a three-year-old from taking off her shoe and throwing it at her sister.

Every once in awhile, now that my kids are getting a little older, I can look up from our own chaos and see someone else. I saw a friend who just had a baby and didn’t have time for sewing project. It was my privilege to say “I can hem that.” My season has changed just enough that I’m not always the needy mom. Sometimes, I’m the helper mom. And it makes my heart happy to take that place. I can speak words of truth about how hard babies are. I can, for a moment or two, make it slightly less hard.

Moms of little ones, it’s a big job and you’re doing great. Also, I love to hold your baby’s hand.

 
 

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