I had a moment today where I considered my place in the mommy universe. We were traveling home from Thanksgiving vacation and stopped by a rest area. As I walked in with my two girls, there was a mother changing her baby's diaper. I looked at her as I walked alone into a bathroom stall and realized I had passed through that phase of my life. My youngest child is six and perfectly capable of going to the bathroom all by herself. How did I get through the diaper changing part of my life so quickly? At the time I never would have believed that I would look back and think that is all went by quickly, because the image of caring for a baby is the one that seems to say "Mom" more than anything else. I'm still "Mom", but I don't change diapers anymore.
I will always carry with me the experience of that part of my life and I am different because of it. I now notice mothers and I know that they sometimes need assistance. Having taken care of my three, I also have a much better idea of what kind of help would be most appreciated. I remember the challenges of taking one or two or sometimes even three babies or toddlers into a public restroom. I remember how on some trips it seemed an impossible task to negotiate if I was alone. I just had to hope that I didn't personally need to use the facilities. A little help would have been wonderful sometimes.
The mother I saw had it all under control. But then I walked out and saw another mother with a baby standing close to the door of the restroom as if she was waiting for someone to come out. My first thought was that it was her husband so she could hand him the baby and go in herself. I thought of offering to hold the baby, but wasn't sure she would let me do that. Then, I saw her son walk out and her instruct him to wait at the door of the women's restroom for her. He balked at the idea – he looked to be about 7 or 8 in age and didn't want to be near the women's restroom. After a few seconds of listening I offered to let him stand with us. I was there with my husband and two children awaiting a third to finish inside. She let him stay with us and he looked much relieved. The mother was lightning fast in the restroom, however, and I wonder if she really did what she needed or if she was too concerned about her son with me to take the necessary time.
I hope I never forget the overwhelming physical challenge of young children and always remember to help other moms.