How were you supposed to know that you were going to make my cry?
I was 38 weeks pregnant and doing most daily tasks at that point were a struggle as I felt like an exhausted beached whale with every move I made. Making myself leave the house was not only necessary for my sanity- I was also determined to walk this baby out. I had a few errands to run, so my husband, daughter and I headed to Target. I waddled from the car into the store and sent them off to grab whatever was needed while I waddled my way to the bathroom. Again.
I saw you walking towards me with your two children. You seemed so blissful with your non-waddling walk. I smiled internally as I saw you interacting with your two young kids. “That’ll be me one day,” I thought, “…one day in the far-off future, but I’ll get there.”
You looked up and saw me approaching you. Like most people who glanced my way those days, your eyes fell first to my belly and quickly came back to my face. “Oh no,” I thought, “here comes another comment about how large I am or how I must be ‘soooo ready’ or something obvious and unnecessary like that.” I braced my facial expression to reflect my practiced courteous smile and willed my eyes not to roll to the back of my head as I kept waddling towards you.
As we got closer to each other, I flashed a polite smile your direction because, Minnesota nice. You grinned at me and then you spoke.
“You’re almost there! You can do it!” you said to me jovially as you slowed down to acknowledge me.
My face did not reflect what I had practiced. My initial reaction to your words was surprise, but I hope my face reflected the gratitude that filled my body at the fact that you did not say any of the remarks I had been receiving from strangers like you for the past three weeks.
“Thank you” was what I could muster up as I kept walking. Then came the tears. I tried to hold them in until I reached the bathroom, but it wasn’t happening. They started streaming down my face.
How were you supposed to know that your words would be so powerful, so encouraging? Your comment was so different than a majority of the comments I had been receiving. Don’t get me wrong, I know strangers were just trying to be kind when they inquire how I’m doing in the final stages of pregnancy, but most of their remarks were often followed by negative undertones. Aside from the daily encouragement I received from husband, up until that point, I had no one telling me that yes, I could in fact do this. But you did. And I want to say thank you.
We need more women like you – encouragers, uplifters. Because of your example, I’ve decided that I am going to strive to be more like you, to encourage more women with my words and actions, even if I don’t know them. Because you never know how powerful and life-giving positive words can be to someone.
So, Mom-at-Target, thank you. Thank you for making me cry.