Here you'll find current musings, as well as the archives from two blogs of yesteryear: YoungMarriedMom and What I Learned While Writing a Novel. Please comment and share. We love well when we are in conversation with one another.
To Whom It May Concern (and that means you):
I wish to bring to your attention an issue that has plagued me in the past, but has, of late, made life considerably more difficult for me. Before I even get to it, I want to note that I have been in your shoes; I have neglected the problem before as well. Now that I’m on the other side, I feel it is my civic duty to voice this concern. I am sure I am not the only one who holds it.
The fact is, you just don’t help me up and down the subway stairs enough when I have my son in a stroller—especially now that I’m nearing seven months pregnant. You know not every station has an elevator. Trust me, I use them whenever I can, despite their antiseptic odor.
I do appreciate what I expect you’d phrase as a compliment: that you can’t tell I’m pregnant from behind. I do feel I’m in better shape this time around than I was when pregnant with Jacob. But that’s not the point. From the back, it should be fairly obvious that I am driving a stroller, pregnant or not. A quick glance will confirm that there is a toddler strapped inside, and a very friendly toddler at that. Those of you who have offered help have been greeted by his sweet smile and sometimes even a word or two. I think even you would agree that the giggle of a child, not to mention the good feeling that comes from helping someone else out, is reward enough.
And still so many of you seemingly able-bodied folks pass me by. On one hand, I get it. As I said above, I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve figured that if this woman was going to take her kid in a stroller on the subway, she had a plan to get him in and out of the station.
The thing is, that plan involves YOU.
If I could construe this purely as your confidence in me, I might be okay. But I know there’s more to it. I’m a New Yorker, too, for crying out loud. I know we hesitate to get involved in other people’s business. To be honest, I don’t really want to ask for help, if you’re not willing to give it.
But why aren’t you willing? What’s the worst that could happen? You ask if I need help and I say no, thanks? Or are you concerned I’m going to get all litigious if you drop my baby? I’m holding the other side of the thing. The kid’s not going anywhere.
So this is where the situation stands: you think I can handle myself; I think you’re capable of helping; and neither of us is going to talk about it.
You know what? That’s okay. Because I’m on to you. I’ve figured out the secret. These days, I huff and puff my way up and down the stairs. It’s not that far from the truth, but I do exaggerate it a bit. I take my time, let the sweat beads fall. When I don’t look like I have it all together, I’m much more likely to have someone ask, “Do you need help?” To which I respond an overtly grateful, “Yes. Please.” More often than not, there’s a look of concern that goes along with it. Who knows? Maybe you think I’m from out of town. So be it.
It’s fall—a season of change that tapers into a season of generosity and gratitude. So let’s make a change, New Yorkers. And may the baby smiles that come with it abound.
Very, very sincerely,