This morning as I was waiting to be called back for my doctor’s appointment, a woman and her 3 kids came in. I watched as she struggled to walk through the room and to the seat, using the walls to help her, as she was clearly pregnant. While doing so, her kids, I would guess between ages 2-8, were running in circles, losing shoes, and hitting each other. As she checked in, I noticed the few other people in the room, watching this scene as well. As the minutes went by, I tried to just distract myself with my phone and not get caught starring at the chaos that was right in front of me, as her kids continued to act as they were.
Looking back at this moment, I could have judged her. I could have judged her by her looks- hair in a frizzy, messy bun; shorts and a t-shirt that, even with being pregnant, were clearly too big for her; tattoos up and down her arms and legs; mismatched flip flops. I could have judged her by the choice words she used to try to get her kids to sit down. I could have given her the wide eyed, “looks” as others were.
But instead, all I could think was, “What’s her story?”
What is life like at home? Does she have someone to help her? Does she have a job or does she stay at home all day? Is she happy? Is she okay?
My heart hurt for this woman, as she was clearly hurting, tired, frustrated, D O N E.
I often wonder if people look at me- the young mom of almost 2- and question what life is like for me. If I ever have that look of defeat, or if I put on a good enough face. If they judge or look down on me for my choices of attire or way I handle my kid throwing a tantrum.
That constant pressure to “look the part” is always there.
I wish that woman could have felt my heart, to know that someone was thinking of her. That someone wasn’t judging her but had compassion and understanding. I wish my introverted self could have at least said something to her, so she knew that, even if she felt like it, she wasn’t alone. I wish that I could have surrounded her with grace, joy and love.
But that’s why I’m doing this. So I can remind all of us, that everybody has a story. Everybody has something different going on that we, as bystanders, don’t know about. We don’t know what they’re feeling or thinking- it could be completely opposite of what they’re allowing us to see.
So the next time you see the struggling mom, the broken girl, the mess of a person, think to yourself, “What is her story?”