Make a single mom happy on Valentine's Day
As first appeared in the Beaumont Enterprise February 12, 2012
No one wants to be on a six-hour, red-eye flight with a crying baby and it doesn’t make the mother happy either.
The mom on this flight was an exhausted Army wife and mother of twin baby boys on her way home from visiting relatives. Her husband is serving in Afghanistan. Passengers weren’t happy when the babies started to cry. Eyes rolled, faces frowned, and all grumbled, if not aloud, certainly under their breathe. No one offered to help. Not the women who had probably had experience, and certainly not the men. No one even made eye contact with the mom enough to see her sleepless face. No one except Rob, a successful businessman from Beaumont. After the first leg, watching the mom struggle, he offered to help. Rob’s sister had triplets and he knew when he saw a mom needing a hand.
“May I help you?” he asked the disheveled young mother of two.
“No thanks, I’ll be okay,” she didn’t even know this guy.
“Look, I’ve helped my sister with triplets. I can feed them; I can hold and hush the baby to sleep. You need some rest.”
She finally relented and Rob took the one crying twin, draped him across his arms, walked and rocked until the babe drifted off. Their mom collapsed and fell into a sound sleep for the entire flight. As he walked the isle with the other babe in his arms, he smiled at the thankful passengers who mouthed “Thank You” in return. The stewardesses assisted him as the mom got some rest. When the flight came into Houston and the lights came on, the mom awoke. Thanking Rob she said, “That’s the first sleep I’ve had in two days.”
Rob received quiet thanks from passengers as they departed the plane. Sincere thanks for a simply act of courtesy.
This week many moms will experience acute heartache as sweethearts all around them share Valentines. Moms whose husbands have been forced to work out of town. Moms whose husbands are serving in the military across the country and across the globe. Moms who have been left as teenagers to raise a child alone. Moms who are divorced and moms who are widowed.
Have we become a culture so afraid of being misunderstood that we hesitate to offer a hand? I recall, before credit card readers, trying to write a check at the grocery checkout with a child on each hip and another hanging onto my leg and wondering why don’t all these able bodied people standing around at least offer to hold one child? And no-I couldn’t leave them home. I was a single mother. No frivolous funds for baby sitters while I went grocery shopping.
Have we forgotten our manners? It takes so little to brighten the day of a single mother whether she is a married Army wife on an airplane or a single mom at the grocery store.
Imagine how surprised she would be to open a Valentine card with a Starbucks certificate inside? Or her imagine how appreciated she would fell if she received a hug and pat on the back? Think of her gratitude for just being told you’ve noticed what a great job she is doing? What if we started a shift or trend in our culture that reached out with respect for motherhood?
It would really make a mom’s Valentine’s Day special.