"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

the universal language of motherhood

By the time this posts Celia, Annie and I will be headed here:

To spend the next three weeks here:

Passports are ready.

Like it or not, we've had our immunizations.

We've done a little ... not so light ... reading.

And gathered donations to take with us from so many generous people.

This blog won't auto post to Facebook and there's so much needed catching up on so feel free to check in independently over the next few weeks. The good times will still be rolling;)

In the meantime here is where my thoughts have been as we've prepared for this awesome adventure.

I recently sat on a plane for the first time in a longtime, kid-less with a good book in hand.

A commotion up the isle amid passengers loading suitcases, drew my attention from the pages I read. A mother nudged a reluctant five year old forward dragging a crying three year old behind as she struggled to avoid awaking the infant strapped to her chest in a carrier.

She fell in to the seat across the isle from mine and situated the protesting others into their seat belts. Toys doled out, crayons spilled, whines hushed, in that tiny tight space she did her best to maintain composure.

The aircraft backed away from the gate and we taxied to the runway. I could feel her anxiety radiating then turning to hope that we'd soon be headed into ascent and the hum of the plane would lull those exhausted little ones into a comfortable sleep.

But we remained grounded for a lightening storm to pass as a lightening storm of her own brewed within her row.

By the time we were finally in the air, the mayhem had escalated and I saw her fight tears. I knew her. I'd been her. No need for words. She was concerned for her babies discomfort, worried about the frustrations of others, wishing to dissolve under the seat.

The seatbelt light was off and the cry went up. "I need to go to the bathroom". And she was trapped. Leave a five year old to tend the now awake baby? Send a three year old alone? Gather all three to squeeze into an already too small lavatory?

"Would you let me hold your baby?" I asked across the armrest of my seat.

I think she had been holding her breath and with an audible exhale and calculated pause, handed me the chunky man. My eyes found his and connected with a smile, more to assure her comfort than his, as she took off toward the back. He was all smiles and blue eyes and I drank it in not realizing until that moment how much I'd missed this.

Everyone settled once again, he noticed she was there ... and he was here ... and he knew on which side his bread was buttered. I handed him back and all was right with the world once again. "Thank you," she said quietly and quite possible perplexed at a stranger's helping hand. But, I had sat not long ago with much less grace than where she sat in this moment.

The plane would land and baby once again strapped on her front, a hand in each hand, diaper bag on her shoulder, she glanced at an overlooked carry-on.

"Let me get that and help you de-board the plane." I said, and we followed each other off the craft.

Her stroller waited at the ramp and I held her bag as she situated the others. "You handled that so, SO well." I couldn't help but say. "Much better than I once did." 

She came in for an unexpected hug then quickly darted after the already departing three year old. We would never cross paths again but for that brief time, were linked only with unspoken words.

We live in a time that puts the actions of mothers under a microscope for dissection and judgement. But regardless of our cultures, our language barriers, our religious inclinations, or geographical locations, I feel a familiarity. One that puts us in the same pair of shoes. Walking a walk full of intense love, protection, worry, guilt, self doubt, renewed commitment, and exhaustively rewarding work.

And time and time again, I see, that every mother of every walk of life speaks a single understandable language.

The universal language of motherhood.

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