I Never Knew Her Name

Many of you may have already read this but my moratorium for republishing it is over now (yes I actually got paid for this one), so I wanted to put it out there.  I submitted the following in response to a Editor’s Query.  The questions was:

“Tell us about a time a total stranger made a lasting impression.”

My response: which I think every single mother can connect with:

There are some days when everything goes right.  But I’m a mother of four children, and, honestly, those days are not the rule.  When things get crazy and I am about to lose my mind, I remember the words of a stranger after a particularly difficult outing.

At the time, I had a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old, an 18-month old and a new-born.  I won’t relate the gory details; let’s just say that at the end of our family hike that morning, my four sweet boys were all in their car seats screaming, and I was standing behind our SUV, throwing strollers and yelling.  Finally, I slammed the door shut and sat on the truck’s rear bumper with my head hanging down, bemoaning my abysmal parenting skills.

Just then, two women appeared and started getting into their car.  I looked up, a bit ashamed, and said,

“Very tough day.”

They smiled back, and, with no condescension, one said,

“Don’t worry; there’ll be other days.”

Her comment didn’t judge my mothering skills or my children or offer advice on what I was doing wrong.  It was a purely kind thing to say, a statement of hope and perspective that reminded me that no matter how tough things can get, there will be times that make it all worthwhile.

Parenting Tip of the Day: 

Now that my boys are older, our separations are a bit easier so the use of the Hershey kiss jar in my previous post isn’t necessary.  Still, after a holiday like Valentine’s Day I stock up on small stuffed animals when they are marked down to a quarter or so.  Before I leave (yes I’ve had a few separations from them) I spray them with my perfume and leave them on the boy’s beds.  I’m told the squeals they let out when they discover their gifts at bed time are truly heartwarming.  Sometimes I even leave one for my hubby.


6 responses to “I Never Knew Her Name

  1. Your story brought a tear to my eye. The idea of you alone with four people under 5, Wow. That’s a lot for anyone to handle.

    I love the positive undertones of the story. Very moving.

    • honestly D…just knowing that you’re there with me in the whole tear in the eye thing is very forgiving for all of us moms that make SO many mistakes routinely. I hope we can spread the story that we’ve all been there..and we all “get it”.

  2. Such a good point. You just never know when the words you say will have an impact.

    At that moment she could have said something sarcastic or mean or ignored you. But instead she offered you hope.


  3. That is so cool when someone offers a kind comment or advise without judgement.

    When I leave town on the very rare occasion I talk to Tooters everynight on her cell phone and make sure to bring back a toy. But I tell her she has to earn it. I always send my pillow or blanket with her to sleep with so she has a little bit of me with her.

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