If you’ve ever been on a plane, you’ve seen her. If you’ve ever been to the airport to pick up a friend or loved one, you’ve seen her. Perhaps you’ve even been her!
You know exactly who I’m talking about:
She’s the one who’s hair, once sleeked back into a stylish ponytail, now sticks more up and out than contained in the rubber band. She’s the one with one child in a stroller, with remnants of who-knows-what around his mouth and down his shirt, wearing only one shoe – the other shoe was lost 2 connections ago. With two older children literally running circles around her hands waving wildly, voices shrieking in sugar-laced-fatigue-induced-delight. Wait, did I say their hands were flailing? Oh, that’s right. That’s because the cool, gotta-have-it backpacks with the wheels on it that they promised to high heaven they would roll, because it’s so cool, are now hanging from the woman’s forearm because the kids were “too tired to pull them.” This woman is also pulling a full-sized carry-on bag behind her, steering the stroller with the other hand. She wears one backpack on her back, another on her front – one or both of which may or may not be holding another child. She’s unaware of the half-eaten lollypop stuck to her hiney, and she hasn’t pee’d since their first plane took off 6 hours ago.
I told you you’ve seen her before. And if you’re like me, when you catch her eye you smile a tired smile, offer a knowing nod and a chuckle. Because I look just like she does!
If you were to follow her through the halls of the airport, you would see how grandmothers and empty-nesters offer knowing glances, words of encouragement, and every now and then a helping hand. They, too, have traversed this road of motherhood with young kids. They remember the fatigue, the frustration, the ever-present-fear of offending those around who don’t have kids; and self-induced pressure of trying to make sure those who do have kids know what a great parent you are.
There is a truth about motherhood to be found throughout our daily lives, but never is it seen so clearly and keenly as in the microcosm of society that is the airport. And the truth is this:
We are all in this together.
As mothers, we are a part of a worldwide sisterhood. No matter your race, creed, belief system, age, economic status or any other qualifier you place on yourself, every mother in the world has faced the same worries, fears, joys and victories. Every mother knows.
Sometimes its easier to turn a blind eye to this sisterhood. It takes too much energy – energy much needed by our own kiddos – to reach out in love and compassion to another member of the sisterhood. Sometimes our emotions are too raw to reach out to the mom whose child has just been given that diagnosis. Or lost another baby. Or buried her grown child. Sometimes we just can’t fathom making it to the end of the day with our own kids fed and tucked in let alone welcome the brood of a friend so she can get that much needed connection with her husband on a night – or, gasp, weekend – out. Sometimes we’re too tired, or frustrated with our own shortcomings as mothers, to stop, and sit to drink a cup of tea and encourage the mom who is drowning in her role of mother. Sometimes, its just easier to pretend we’re in it alone.
But we’re not. You are not alone! I see you there, sister. New mom. Mourning mom. Tired mom. Angry mom. I see you. I hear you. I am you.
I stretch my hand to you in this moment. Take it. Hold it. I’ll hold you up; you hold me up. Let’s embrace the sisterhood. And in doing so, we not only embrace the world – we change it.