On my way to work, I stopped by a local eatery to pick up lunch. The young pregnant woman I usually saw was not at the cash register. "Did she have her baby?" I asked excitedly. "Did her husband make it home in time? Are they okay?” Yes, I was told. Mother and baby were doing well, husband/daddy had made it home. I smiled and of course got a little tearful.
I didn't know her name (I do now) but I knew she was here alone, family far away and it was her first baby. Her husband was deployed but hopefully would be allowed to come home for a brief break when their son was born. I knew she was nervous but excited. We talked many times about being away from your family, being a new mom, and military life. I shared with her my own experiences with each of those, and over time, a bond was established between us. I became a “big sister” of sorts to her.
So, before I went to work, I went and got gifts for them. Nothing showy or expensive, but rather, little things that I knew I appreciated when I was here alone, active duty married to an active duty man, first baby, scared and overwhelmed with it all.
Why did I do that? Because, we all need people like that in our lives. Because we all have had our moments of vulnerability and are relieved and comforted by an outstretched hand. Because even small gestures of kindness are contagious and keep us connected. Because at our core, we are kin. We forget that, a lot.
When I returned with the gifts, another young lady who I’ve also gotten to know didn't seem at all surprised by my gesture. She went and got her phone and showed me pictures of the new baby and his glowing mother. Making the time for this really made my day a whole lot shinier.
When I left, I thought more about the lack of reaction I got about bringing in the gifts. I mean, some stranger who stops for lunch just goes and buys presents for someone they hardly know? If you think about it like that, it seems a little creepy and weird. But no one in the restaurant perceived my gesture that way at all. The inherent goodness and the purity in the reasoning for what I did was expected and accepted. Know what? That makes me feel so great!
Shouldn’t it be that way for all of us?