From 3 Stories Up, I Gazed Into the Parking Lot—That’s When I Saw Her Lose It

I glanced out the window of the third story waiting room and saw her.

She was trying to help her son out of his wheelchair, and into the front seat of her car.

He looked to be about 15 and was fighting her, melting down, clearly upset about something.

From three stories up, I recognized everything about this momma. The fear, the anger, the exhaustion, the forced calm, the quiet cajoling, and finally, the deep breath when she finally got him into the seat, buckled in, and door closed.

As she collapsed the wheelchair and opened the trunk, I saw her begin to sob.

It was the quick, hurry and get some of this pain out so you get back to your life sobbing. The kind that takes you by surprise but releases, just a little of the pressures of everyday care-taking.

I felt a lump in my throat. I wanted to bang on the window and  shout at her, “It’s OK! Cry if you need to. I see you. You are doing such a wonderful job!

As she covered her face – trying to wipe the tears, trying to get back on track, knowing her son might not be able to tolerate being alone in the car much longer – another mom walked up. She was pushing a stroller with a much smaller child. She touched the crying in the parking lot, overwhelmed and exhausted mom’s shoulder. She spoke words that I couldn’t possibly understand from so far away, but longed to hear.

They both smiled. They hugged.

And then both moms got back to their children and their days.

I turned from the window and saw my own son, rocking back and forth, trying to deal with the sensory input of a busy waiting room. I took a deep breath, blinking away tears I hadn’t realized were there, and got back to my child as well.

Weeks later, I can still see her in my mind. The reality of it all. The familiarity of it all. And most importantly, the silent but very clear example of how one mom helping another mom, makes a real difference.

I have no idea what she said.

I have no idea if they’d met before or were perfect strangers.

I have no idea if she’d even seen what happened with the boy, just a few minutes prior.

What she did was so simple – she saw a woman suffering and she stepped in.

She saw a woman crying and offered comfort.

She took just a few minutes of her own time to extended grace.

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Moms helping moms make an impact. They make a real, tangible difference.

So many of you wrote words of encouragement to me, as we navigated our own meltdowns last week. You took the time to offer comfort, to share stories of hope, to encourage, to pray with us and to show love.

I am so very grateful. It really, really matters – the kindness, the knowing, the support.

And I am overwhelmed by the simplicity of it all.

Moms helping other moms are powerful forces of God’s grace.

We have all been the mom in the parking lot at one point or another. Some of us share the diagnosis and the meltdowns. Some of us don’t. But we all know what it’s like to feel defeat. We all know what it’s like to struggle under the weight of motherhood – what it’s like to feel like we cannot do this alone.

And there is a kind of encouragement that only comes from another mom, willing to step in and say in words and deed, “You are not alone.”

Please accept my heat felt thanks for your sweet comments and support when I needed it most.

And please know, when you are the one hurting in the parking lot, trying to keep it all together, tired and hurting –  I see you. It’s why this blog exists.

No matter what today brings, know –  You are not alone.

With so much love,

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Shawna Wingert
Shawna Wingert is a wife to a wacky, voice actor husband, and a special needs momma to two uniquely challenged little boys. Passionately real, she takes an honest look at the messy and the painful, the sweet and the laughable, and how Jesus is in the midst of it all. You can find Shawna at her blog, Not the Former Things, and on Facebook.