I stood in line today behind a beautiful young mother. Her two children, a boy and girl around 4 and 6 years old, stood with her. She talked to them casually as she made a quick phone call. She waited patiently for them to move in line with her. She giggled at the silly things they did. She smiled, and she touched them gently. She seemed to have it all figured out.
Not once did she pull them by the arm. Not once did she utter a command. She watched, waited, listened, and smiled. I was impressed. I felt drawn to her energy and I couldn’t help but watch. Her children seemed reserved, and were very well behaved. While my two bouncing (literally) boys were chattering away and attempting to break for the other end of the line, they stayed by their mother, calmly.
Something was different about them. About her.
There is a unity between all mothers, regardless of race, faith, background, region, and even time. It is the most powerful feeling in our hearts that can only be explained as a primal need to love and protect our children. To love them more than ourselves. To want for them everything there is in the world. And to always be there for them – to love them, to protect them, to comfort them, and to watch them grow. Because they only have one mother.
As I watched this glimpse of family, this tiny moment of life, I realized the difference, and my heart hurt. This beautiful, thirty something mother in line in front of me had no hair. She wore a scarf pulled over hear head, tied at the base of her neck where I could see the beginnings of new hair starting to grow back. What has she been through, I wondered? What pain, what sickness, what fear? I saw none of it in her face. She was present. She was smiling. She was loving her children. She was ignoring the petty things and giving attention to the things that matter. She gave me a wonderful reminder today, to keep my priorities right and let go of everything that does not matter. We do not know how long we have with the ones we love, and I don’t want to take anything or anyone for granted. Although I never exchanged words with her, and I will never know her name or her story, I know I will not forget this beautiful mother.
I am blessed to be healthy and to have a healthy family. The challenges I face seem like nothing in comparison, and I know they have been put in front of me to make me stronger. I am thankful for my life. And I am thankful for these amazing boys…