Friday, June 28, 2013

A tiny gesture of kindness goes a long, long way.

Ever have someone do a small, kind gesture for you that really just kinda stuck with you all day...? Do you know what I mean? It happened to me yesterday and albeit small, I couldn't shake it. In a good way. I just kept thinking that because someone took 3 minutes. Just 3. To help a momma out. It made life so much easier. I need to be more like that.

Let me back up.

I had just finished up my favorite toning/sculpting Ballet Burn class. I went into the childcare room to get the girlies, when I heard the ladies say, Oh, mommy's here. She can take you, Em. I happened to line up my entrance with a potty trip. No big deal. So before I picked up Lucy and had all my stuff and then tried to take a potty trip, they said they'd keep Lu while I went with Emeline. They're super helpful like that.

Except that Lucy saw me and

She's hilarious, that child. She is happy as a clam the whole time. But the second she sees me enter that room, it's all over. It's like she suddenly realized I was gone for an hour and I want my mother and I want her naaaowwwww.

So we ran to the potty, ran back and got the ticked-off Lucy. I was doing the whole, one huge diaper bag schlepped over my sweaty, slippery shoulder, one happy-now-but-still-tears-on-her-face Lucy on my hip, and then that thing, where you force your toddler to hold your hand so she doesn't get hit by cars on the way out. I used my butt to get open the door to get out of the kid room, and we were so close to the main door--I thought we were going to make it out in one piece.

But, we ran into some friends from Church. So I let Emeline talk with the big boys for a minute. Trying to avoid a meltdown because I could sense it on the horizon if I forced her to come too fast. You toddler parents know what I mean. It's like a looming storm. You can sense something coming? So you don't apply too much pressure. You just. Wait.

So a few minutes later we wished our friends well on their upcoming vacation and started heading for the door for real this time. But, something I did (hand holding, maybe? giving her the hello kitty glasses?) wasn't just perfect in toddler'dom and so I felt it. She started squealing a little and forcing her hand away from me, all while I have the bigger than texas diaper bag and Lucy on my sweaty side.

I know better than to fight the meltdown. Especially when I'm alone. I let her fingers slip through mine and she sort of melted to the ground. I still have no idea what she was whining about. It was really fast. I kneeled down next to her. Silently cursing the million plie's I'd just done because ouch. I always talk quiet during these random events. I never freak out. I just start pulling out the million tricks in my book. I had just quietly said, would you still like to earn your star today? (a little behavior chart we had added after one weird behavior week at the Y) Hoping that would snap her out of it--but no cigar.

When my instructor, who'd been subbing for my class I just took, walked by as she was returning weights and rags to the gym. I sort of gave her the mom-eye-roll. All without words I said, Yeaaaa one of thooooose is happening. I really just expected her to sort of just be like, Been there, girlfriend, no judgement here. She's pretty cool like that and I know she has kids so she gets it.

But instead, without batting an eyelash, she first said--Want me to take the baby??? I guess I must have somehow muttered something (I can't remember) that we'll be okay. When she got right down on her knees in front of Emeline and said, Hey girlie! I'm Miss Karen. What's your name?? You're cute!

She immediately perked up and stood up to be at the instructors eye level. With a smile on her face, and entire demeanor change, answered her--I'm Emeline!

Well hi there, Emeline. Did you know your mom is a good dancer? (she's lying) She was just in my class. You have a nice mommy. 

Em giggles & nods.

Ohhh, those are fun glasses. Can you put them on? Let me see them on you!

Emeline puts her glasses on, showing them off, smiling ear to ear and saying, They make me look like Hello Kitty!

They do! Now you're ready to go outside. Have a good day, girls! So good meeting you, Emeline.

Emeline popped up, held my hand--and as we were walking away I looked back at Karen and said, "THANK YOU. So much. It's obvious you have kids". 

She said, Oh yea, girl--I have 3. And I saw you give that mom-look. We all know the mom-look. A little distraction goes a long way. 

That was it. 

That was the tiny little act of kindness that made my entire day.

When writing it out it sounds SO LONG and drawn out. The entire encounter was maybe, maybe, 3 minutes long.

She didn't have to stop. She didn't have to take 3 minutes to distract my toddler out of meltdown mode. She didn't have to stop and offer to take the baby. She didn't have to tell me she's been there, done that, and totally gets it.

But she did.

We practically skipped out of the Y after that. My toddler acted like an angel. We chatted about the nice day. And I thanked God for nice people who just take a second to stop and help a momma out.


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  1. OK this makes me want to run out and hug a stranger! <3

  2. SO awesome! What a blessing. These quick acts of kindness really do end up making a lasting difference.

  3. I'm with Shannon on this!!!!!!!! I want to go out and pay it forward to someone. God will most definitely bring someone we need at the exact moment we need it!!! :) ALWAYS! Without.Fail

  4. I'm literally wiping my eyes. Stories of unexpected kindness get me every time. I love love love how God moves through people.

  5. So been there! There's a story from when I was pregnant with Slade that STILL brings tears to my eyes every time because I was so incredibly overwhelmed by strangers kindness

  6. Oh my Momma heart! :) Such lovely people in unexpected places and times.

    I LOVE hearing about the good (no matter how big or small) done in the world.

    PS: I must really use your tip on the no freaking out at a meltdown, and speak softly thing. Thanks, Ma! Happy Wknd to you! <3

  7. Is it weird that I cried after reading this? I just love this!!! Only other mommas get it and it is so refreshing to see mommas help each other out!!!

  8. I'm so glad you shared this! I love hearing stories of mama-sisterhood!

  9. Sometimes strangers are the best of help when it comes to crazy kids. Strangers use to bug me when E was itty bitty, but now I love when they interact with him just for the pure distraction of it...unless they are creepy...I don't like creepy.

  10. I've had a few of those moments, upon occasion. And they hit home, so deep. Just a moment of kindness goes so far, you're right.

    Women need that. Moms need that. For real.

  11. those moment MAKE MY DAY. actually just reading about yours kind of did. people don't get how good the little things really can be.