Yesterday, on my way to the park with Marko, I noticed a woman sitting on the curb, cradling a child in her arms. The little girl must have been no older than two years of age. The woman, who I can only assume was her mother, was wearing a long black dress. I couldn’t tell if the child was crying, or had been crying, as she had her face buried in her mother’s long dark hair. The moment, although brief, felt haunted. How long had she been sitting there? What was she doing on the curb in her long dress in the middle of suburban Ottawa?
As I walked by, I hoped to make eye contact. I’m not sure why to be honest. What was I planning to do or say if she locked eyes with me? Perhaps I was hoping for a smile, something to tell me that the grim situation I pictured in my head was just a figment of my imagination. But she never did look up, so I kept along my way.
I thought about her for the rest of the walk. This may sound very bizarre to many, but in that instant, I felt like our souls had connected. Something about her and her child seemed so very sad. Here I was, pushing Marko in his stroller, enjoying the brightness of the sun without a worry in sight. He had just woken up from a two hour nap and I was feeling great. And there she was, only a couple of blocks from my home, sitting on a curb under the same bright sun only full of despair.
Then, later that evening, my husband and I had planned a little “date night” for ourselves. My mother-in-law came over to babysit while we snuck out to enjoy a couple of burgers and some drinks. It had been a lovely day and I was ending it on the right note. After having our delightful dinner, we were driving home when we spotted a woman standing at the bus stop carrying a child in her arms while trying to push an empty stroller. It was nearly 9 p.m. and there she was trying to get home with her baby roughly the same age as Marko. My son had been in bed since 6:30 p.m. and I had just spent a wonderful dinner with my husband complaining about how tired we were.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
How different our own individual worlds can be. Had I been the mother out with my son of 8 months standing at night waiting for a bus while trying to juggle a stroller and bags, I probably would have been in tears. No joke. I’m a wuss. I complain when I haven’t had the chance to shower in two days because my son was fussy.
It really made me think of all the mothers out there. All the mothers that are single. All the mothers that are single and having to bus around everywhere with their child/children.
To get them to daycare.
To go to work.
To pick them back up.
And get groceries.
In the winter.
Nobody said parenting was easy, and it isn’t. But sometimes, it’s good to just get some perspective. To all those moms out there, whether single or not, I applaud you for doing the best that you can.
To that woman on the curb, regardless of what your situation may have been, I am ready to bet that the hug you were giving your daughter was all she needed to make her world better at that very moment.
To that woman standing at the bus stop, holding her baby boy in one arm and juggling bags and a stroller, you are strong. It would have been a lot easier to just leave your son in his stroller, but I am ready to bet that he cried to be in your arms and you gave in–because that’s all he needed at that very moment to be happy.
Parents, take a moment and breath. Look around you. Give your babes a hug. I promise, even if it is brief, even if they have been screaming for hours, it will do your soul some good.