When I reflect on the many acts of kindness that have been done on my behalf over the past thirty-plus years, I'm genuinely filled with deep gratitude. But the ones that have really stuck with me--that have touched my heart most--are the ones that were done within these past four years...not on my behalf, but on my son's.
For my child's happiness is my own magnified.
The times when my heart swelled most with gratitude weren't from those major, mountain-moving kinds of acts, but from small, genuine, heartfelt gestures that may not have felt like much to them, but brought me to my knees in thankfulness.
To the EMT who talked me through a scary ambulance ride when I was 36 weeks pregnant--it wasn't a particular thing you did, it was your way of being. Your soothing tone, genuine eye contact, the way you distracted me from the worry without making me feel like I was trying to be distracted from the worry. I'm so sorry I don't remember your name, but I'll always remember the way you made me feel.
To the doctor who held my hand when I had to give my eight month-old son medication for the first time that would lower his blood pressure--you didn't do or say anything profound; it was the way you touched my back and said, "he's okay, mom...he'll be fine", as if I wasn't "one of the many" you'd had come through your office before. As if, instead, I was the first. You knew he'd be okay, but you didn't make me feel silly for wondering if he would be--somehow I felt soothed and validated at the same time.
And to the lady at the health insurance department of my former employer who worked around the clock to see if you could get my benefits reinstated...I didn't mean to burden you, a stranger, with the story of our unexpected loss only two days after our insurance terminated, it just all came out. But you worked well past five o'clock that day for a momma you'd never met, yet sadly had something in common with, and let me know with a phone call that night that you'd found a way to lighten our load. When we received a $600 bill in the mail instead of a $3,400 bill, I said a silent prayer for you: not just one of thanks, but one for your loss as well.
That's the one common thread among all three of these selfless acts of kindness: we're all mommas. We know the right tone to use, the right words to say to comfort each other because we've all been through our share of the unique brand of pain that only comes from witnessing the suffering or loss of your own child. So, let me say again, from one mother to another...