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Paying it Forward with Wine

One mom lending another mom a helping hand


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The walk through the preschool parking lot to the classroom with your child can be a walk of shame or a victory lap. And the former can turn into the latter and then right back again just as quickly, all before getting to the front office.

One day, while wrestling my daughter back into the clothes she’d somehow ripped off during the ride to school, I realized that our minivan dressing room adds an element of distraction we weren’t faced with at home, compounded by an audience of parents and children scurrying to their classrooms.

Defeated, I sat on the bumper and bit my tongue to keep from screaming while I counted to 10, which turned into 30, until I heard a fellow mother’s voice: “Need some help?”

This Angel Mommy and I exchanged a quick glance that was equal parts gracious and conspiratorial. Pretending to walk away, I said, “Okay, sweetie, since you don’t want Mommy’s help getting dressed, Mommy’s friend is going to help instead.” The thought of having a stranger dress her was enough to make my daughter realize that our original plan wasn’t so bad.

Not only was my help welcome again, but my daughter agreed to wear both socks and underpants, and didn’t complain about anything being uncomfortable. A miracle!

After that hard-won school dropoff, Angel Mommy and I had some time to debrief, and no more than an hour later, I found a delicious bottle of wine at my front door, begging to be poured. As I drank it that night, I thought about my new BFF, and how there’d been no judgment or disapproving looks. Just sweet reprieve.

I think of this woman often. I thought of her the day I witnessed another woman struggling to exorcise her usually sweet-as-pie daughter. After asking her permission I scooped the child up, walked away for five seconds, and by the time I returned the child was so happy to be back in her mother’s arms she calmed right down. Holy moly, this works. I silently deemed that first Good Samaritan a saint and child-whisperer while taking credit for her wisdom. It seemed perfectly fitting that I pay her kindness forward that night with another bottle of wine on another new friend’s doorstep.

So mamas, let’s be there for each other. Let’s face it: None of us has it figured out. But sometimes we’re afforded a little perspective when a fellow mother’s caught in a toddler tornado. So let’s do what we can, when we can, and do it with love and understanding, because it’s only a matter of time before we are in that tornado, searching for the calm—and a bottle of wine.

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