Thursday, 9 January 2014

Your love is my love

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It was a cold, dark, snowy night as I drove with both kids in the backseat along the sleek city roads last week. There was a chill in the air, the wind was blowing and snow was falling on my windshield as I looked ahead and saw flashing lights.

I glanced back at Carter and Mya who were sitting quietly, tucked tightly into their car seats.

Traffic slowed down as the flashing lights got brighter and we crept up to the scene. I looked out and saw an SUV turned facing traffic, the back side door crushed in.

I kept my eyes focused ahead as the streetlights turned red and I came to a stop right in front of the accident. I looked over, examining the damage strewn all over the road and then quickly noticed that the wrecked car was still running. I looked again and my heart dropped as I saw a woman sitting in the backseat beside an infant car seat. Toys were dangling from the car seat handle and I could see the woman hovering over her tiny baby.

It took my breath away for a moment and I quickly looked back at my own two little ones sitting so quietly behind me.

I all of a sudden felt like it was me sitting there with that baby in the backseat. I felt that mama's fear and panic. My eyes started filling with tears as I watched the exhaust fumes blow out from under the car, knowing that she was trying with all her might to keep her baby warm. I knew that she was panicking about whether her baby was hurt, whether he was going to be hungry soon or what she would do if he started crying...because when you're in the middle of a busy intersection in the dead of winter, police cars surrounding you, waiting for more help, there is nowhere to go and the panic starts to set in.

The light turned green and I hesitated as I slowly crept forward, away from this mother who I all of sudden felt connected to. Never having even met her.

I wiped away my tears, surprised that I was actually this emotional after only a few minutes of seeing such a scene.

Then I all of a sudden felt this urge to turn around, to run to this mama and her baby and offer whatever I had in my van for them. Is your baby hungry? I have a bottle. It might be half empty, but it's all yours. Are you cold? I have baby blankets. Here--take them all. Distraction for your crying baby? I have some toys...keys...crinkly wrappers. Because I FELT her. I felt her angst, I felt her panic, I felt her fear. I felt her urge to take her baby and run somewhere safe, somewhere warm...away from her wrecked car, flashing police lights and dark, cold winds.

So as I pulled into our driveway with tear streaked cheeks, I watched as Terry came out to help me bring the kids inside, out of the cold...and I felt like I should have gone back. Turned around. Somehow gotten to her...knowing full well that realistically the scene was blocked off and I probably couldn't have gotten to her without leaving my own children alone in the van on the side of the road.

But I felt her.

Because, what I realized in that moment was that we're all connected. We all belong to each other. Your baby is my baby. My babies are yours.

Your pain is my pain. My pain is yours.

Your happiness is my happiness. My happiness is yours.

It's the same feeling that I get when I need an extra set of hands when I'm getting the kids dressed for outside and I all of a sudden look over to see a friend zipping up my son's coat. Or when we're at a party and little paper plates get filled with food for kids who aren't our own, because a mama's arms are full. Or when my baby trips and falls, and hands that aren't my own pick him up to snuggle him. Because my child is your child. And your child is mine.

It's the same feeling that I had over and over again this week as I walked the halls of my new school, passing unfamiliar faces and feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of everything being brand new to me.

But as I met the eyes of friendly faces who introduced themselves to me, shook my hand or made a point of asking me how my first week back to work was I knew it was because they felt me. They were the ones who remembered what they felt like walking through those same halls not long before...being new, being overwhelmed, not knowing many people. Because we're all connected. We all belong to each other. We all need to take care of each other.

So to Mya and Carter, please remember this. Remember that that child on the playground who is crying is as much your sibling as your actual brother or sister. So go to him and ask him to play. And that friend who is sad or worried? Please hug her. Because that little girl's sadness is the same sadness that you might feel one day. And when I love you so much each day that you actually feel it, please pass it along to someone else who needs it. Because really, that's what this life is all about.

 Love, your mom



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