I was in Walmart. I had three children in tow, trying to grocery shop. My youngest child was in a baby carseat, tucked into the cart with his apnea monitor, feeding tube, and oxygen tank. I'm sure I was a spectacle.
But my baby was quiet and content, and I made my way through the grocery section, my other two young children following behind me. People noticed us, and sometimes someone asked me about him.
This was eleven years ago, but one comment still stands out in my mind. A gal about 10-15 years older than me came up to me and said, "Tell me about your baby."
My heart was warmed immediately, and I indeed told her about my baby. I told her about his birth and NICU stay, and concerns about his future. And she listened and didn't make commentary, and was loving and compassionate. As we stood by the frozen foods, she made me feel normal. Our life felt crazy and scary and precarious in those days, but her listening ear and gentle demeanor soothed my anxious heart. As we spoke, she shared that she too had a child with special concerns, and she understood our situation to some degree.
I have never forgotten her kindness to me, and her thoughtful phrasing, followed by truly listening to my story. While I know I certainly don't handle every situation with such grace, I strive to be that kind of person to those I meet.