by Laura Neibart
Mom of 4, Forever a writer, Once a production executive
In the thick of the holidays and the pressure of a new decade, it’s hard to take a step back and experience the season, let alone get real about how to make a lasting valuable impact in a new year. Sometimes we need to take ourselves out of our own daily lives for a moment to really enjoy them and remember what connects us all.
Today, amidst all the hustle and bustle, I found myself at the federal building with my husband and two youngest sons waiting anxiously in a line around the block to get the children passports in anticipation of our Christmas trip to Cabo, Mexico. We’re lucky to take this trip.
The wait was unduly uncomfortable with teacher gifts looming, deadlines to meet, a house to show and presents to purchase. In preparation for our appointment, I made sure to dutifully prepare all of our documents, but I wasn’t prepared for the cold weather.
I asked the security guard if perhaps I could skip the line and go inside with the baby, and he quickly rebuffed me. I say “quickly” because It’s an important detail in the story. Sometimes our immediate impulse is to try and control and say “no” instead of reading the situation or really being present -- what some call “living in” the circumstance.
As it turned out, the man did take a moment to consider, and he circled back and said I could go ahead inside. My instinct was to ask the woman and her baby next to me to move forward with me. They came along. The guard then scolded the other mother and told her I was the only one allowed to move forward. And then again, he thought the better of his knee-jerk and allowed her to move ahead with me.
As we went inside, I asked the other mother the age of her baby. She responded that her baby was 10 days old, and she’d come to the building to procure what she needed to go home and see family in Turkey. I asked the baby’s name, and she responded, “Laura.” That’s my name.
We spent an hour together waiting for our number to be called, exchanging stories about our older kids, what the beaches are like in Turkey and how frustrating traffic is in both cities. When my baby became fussy, she amused him with little games of peekaboo and allowed me to fill out the paperwork I needed. After both our numbers were called, shortly after one another,we said goodbye and wished each other luck on our journeys.
I will most likely never see this mom and her baby again, as we’re living worlds apart. But our bond in motherhood placed us on the same ground, immediately.
I urge you this holiday season, moving into a new decade, to recognize what binds us together, and not what sets us apart. I hope this anecdote helps you “live in” your life and choose kindness.
Want a surefire way to be great in 2020? To raise children who know how to live? Choose kindness, over and over. And that will become your legacy.