A Lesson From the Airport

Something interesting happen while I was at the airport.

There was a mom and dad with a young girl, maybe about 6, pushing their belongings on the stroller, along with the girl, who was sitting inside.  

She started  being really agitated and began throwing a fit, screaming and throwing her fists.

The parents wasted no time.  In a matter of seconds Mom pulled her out under her arms and then pulled her against her own body, wrapping the other arm to pin the girls’ upper arms, all while she was pulling her backwards with her towards the wall of a nearby corner.  Dad, meanwhile, and just as quickly, had maneuvered the stroller packed with belongings over to the same wall, scooped up his daughter’s legs and managed to lower himself to the floor at the same time mom was, which ended up with him reclined on the floor while mom leaned against him, both holding their allotted portion of their daughter, tightly and nestled between them.  They had formed their own little cocoon.

It happened so fast, it was obvious this wasn’t their first go ‘round.  Their method worked, the girl calmed almost instantly. But I wondered how often they had to employ it and I felt for them.

I had this strong urge to give them a second of support and was the only thing I intended when I walked by them, leaned down and said, “I just want you to know that was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.  You are doing a wonderful job.”

Instead of what I expected would be a thin acknowledgement as I passed on, mom mumbled something that sounded very defeated and I sat down by her.  She said, “I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know if I’m meant to be a mom. I don’t know if I’m meant to be HER mom.”

I smiled and looked her right in the eye and said, “You want to know the beautiful thing about those questions?  Is that you don’t have a choice.” Then, I gave her the choice by saying, “Do you?” I didn’t know if she had seriously considered something like adoption or checking out as a mom, but I somehow knew she would say no, but just had to voice her agony.  She shook her head “no”.

I said, “Then the BEST thing about those questions is that knowing they aren’t an option, the only option you have left are SOLUTIONS.”  And I gave her my phone number telling her that someone sees her and she could call anytime. I woke up to find this was only a dream. But the message I thought was important enough to share.

It was perfectly ok for this mom to voice her fears in the forms of the doubts we question ourselves with all the time.  Our natural instinct when we respond to someone is “Oh you’ll be fine. You’re strong! Don’t talk nonsense. Of course you can do this!” type messages even though that person really IS NOT feeling strong NOR feeling like they can do anything at this point.  Reminded that they wouldn’t actually choose to give up or give in, the beautiful part about it is with all of those doubts NOT being an option, it frees the brain up leaving only solutions.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the “can’t” mentality because of the overwhelming feelings involved, that our brain literally gets stuck in a place where solutions cannot be thought of.  Cleared with the cobwebs of doubt, reducing the options that really aren’t an option puts the person back in control, back in a place where solutions can be the best motivator to carry on.

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