To the mom I met at the park,
I wasn’t looking for a new friend, but you decided to chat with me despite my tired eyes and crossed arms. You were relaxed as your kid covered himself in dirt and sand. And when he happily waddled over for a snack, you didn’t bother to disinfect his hands. I waited for the obligatory apology us moms all give when are kids are hot messes, but you didn’t miss a beat in our conversation.
You let our kids work it out on their own when they both wanted the same shovel. And for the first time at the playground, I let out a sigh of relief at not having to try to teach my barely one year old the beauty in sharing. You let your toddler climb up the slide and down the steps without ever hovering or telling him to “be careful.” You didn’t ask me if my baby was walking or talking yet or reaching any particular milestone, you asked me how I felt about having survived a whole year of motherhood.
You talked about your C-section without regret, but with ease and gratitude for saving you and your baby’s life. You said breastfeeding was one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. You told me about how lonely you felt when your husband worked out of town, and how lonely you sometimes felt even when he was back. You told me the things you missed about your pre-baby life without ever feeling the need to mention how much you do “really love motherhood though.”
You brought me back a coffee from the cafe even though I didn’t ask for it, and pastries to share without ever mentioning the calorie or fat content. You listened compassionately about my lack of sleep without ever asking me if I tried such and such method or giving me any unsolicited advice. You didn’t bat an eye when my kid had a meltdown leaving the swings, you just carried her diaper bag to the car for me while I held a flailing child in my arms.
Maybe we’ll schedule a playdate, or run into each other again in the neighborhood. Regardless, I’m glad we connected between sippy cup hunts and sunblock applications. And next time I see a tired mom with crossed arms, I’ll consider it my turn to say hi and bring the coffee.