Dear Sweet Mama,
As I was rushing through the grocery store today, harried, strapped for time, two babies in tow, I saw you pass by us more than once. I saw you staring at our cart out of the corner of my eye. And never thought a thing about it as I sped through the store, stacking groceries haphazardly around my three month old in the cart, trying to escape the store before one or the other of the under 3 crowd had a melt down.
As I swung around a corner (just keep moving and the baby won't cry!), I heard a sweet voice say, "May I look at your baby?" "Sure," I replied, without thinking, moving groceries and myself so that you could catch a view of Levi in the overladen cart. "Oh no," you said," I meant your OTHER baby. I didn't even know he was in the cart" and you smiled, already making your way to my daughter's side. I felt myself tense up because my child, as sparkling as a butterfly from a distance is often not so sweet and generous when her space is invaded.
However, you bent down to her level and gently asked her her name....to which she replied in Liddy speak "Diddy". You smiled and asked how old she was....(to which she replied 3, which might be a slight stretch!) You leaned forward, kissed her forehead, and then said to me, "Mine just turned 57." Suddenly, this time crunched mama, who had spent the last 20 minutes tearing through the aisles, felt like time stopped while I stood and chatted with you. You told me that your son has Alzheimers and when I apologized, you said, "It is what it is and I had 50 years of the greatest blessing before time started to take him away." I had a lump in my throat as I watched you continue to speak to Liddy, not as a stranger, but in a voice overflowing with love for a little girl who you don't know anything about except that she shares the same extra chromosome as your son.
I watched, blinking back tears, as my precious girl reached up and gave you a hug, signing "I love you." And as you started to walk away, you reached up to the collar of your sweater and unpinned the angel you were wearing, gently pinning it to Liddy's t shirt. "An angel needs a guardian angel" you said as you walked away.
I want to say thank you. Thank you for stepping in at exactly the right moment and reminding me that nothing is more important than right now and that these moments with my babies, as stressful as they might seem sometimes, are fleeting. Thank you for pouring your love out to my child, for talking TO her, not about her, for showing genuine appreciation for who she is. Thank you for your honesty, for not sugar coating your reality, but remaining serene about what I know must be excruciatingly painful to watch as a mother. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of the type of mother I want to be.....the type of mentor I aspire to be to others just starting out on this path some day. But most of all, thank you for taking the time to step up and say hello. I have had a few parents stop me while Liddy and I are out and about but this encounter with you truly touched my heart deeply.
I may never see you again but the memories of that brief conversation will stay with me for a long, long time.
We are family, you and I. Please know that you and your precious son are in my thoughts and prayers tonight....and that pin you gave my baby girl will be a treasure to us always.