I was on the bus home yesterday when I got chatting to a 10 month old little girl. By chatting, of course, I mean I babbled and she smiled and cooed at me from the warm snuggy sling her mama carried her in. She was lovely, a really curious wee thing, intent on touching every manhandled surface on that bus; catching every stranger’s eye; and getting as many smiles as possible from tired commuters heading home for tea.
Through this littlest of women, I got talking to her mama. Younger than me, she mentioned she’s in college and how chuffed she was her little one got a place in her University’s creche. As two mothers will, we talked about sleep – agreeing that neither hers and mine sleep the night; crawling – hers is at it, mine’s not that bothered; food – they both swing from the extreme of eating everything to rejecting everything; and any and every other thing that ten minutes of chat allows.
The conversation was lovely, a nice reminder that forgetting my phone and not having a screen to flick across on that quick journey home can have its advantages. But the nicest part was that I somehow remembered to say the words that I know every mama wants to hear.
Your baby is lovely. You’re doing great. Your little one is a real credit to you.
The words were true and I’m glad I thought to say them to her. Her girl is lovely. This mama is doing great. Her little one is a real credit to her.
It means the world to get a pat on the back and a little nudge of encouragement from another mother. Long after I have forgetten the kind faces, I still remember the way those words made me feel. The nurse on the maternity ward who said I was to tuck my restless newborn son into my nightie and sing to him because I was all he needed. The cafe owner in County Clare who gave me a massive wedge of chocolate cake and congratulated me on doing the most important job in the world as I fed my hungry daughter. The lady who just the other day smiled at my ‘stepping stone’ children, ignoring the fact that two of them were killing each other and told me they were beautiful.
All of us are doing great. All of us are trying our best. All of our babies are lovely. And it is nice to be reminded of it.