Smeared Mascara and Shopping Carts

Yesterday afternoon was a shit show.  I had to leave work early to take my STILL coughing baby to a pulmonary specialist, manage to keep her calm throughout the two hour ordeal, trek-it across town in rush hour traffic to Whole Foods in the pouring rain, and THEN try to get my baby into the crowded supermarket without letting the rain make her even more sick.

So… as you can imagine, by the time I made it inside the damn store, my emotions, exhaustion, and mascara were smeared ALL over my face.

Bella was so excited to be cruising around in a shopping cart that I let the temporary moment of calm wash over me as I wandered aimlessly through the aisles – soaked from head to toe.   Did I mention I lost a flip-flop in a puddle before walking into the store? Yea, that happened.

Almost out of nowhere, I bumped into another mama who looked like she could have been a mirror-image of mine – with an equally delicious baby girl riding along in her shopping cart.  Like, literally, bumped into her with my cart.

“Today SUCKS,” she said, looking at me like she was desperate to vent.

“OH MY GOD… The WORST,” I exclaimed without hesitation.

We literally stood there and talked about everything and nothing for a good ten minutes.  Our baby girls were exactly the same age and seemed to be communicating with each other through random sounds and squeals so we just went ahead and kept right on talking.

“My daughter has her first cold now too,” she told me – the exhaustion in her face speaking for itself.  “I need to find something here for her cough.”

“Follow me,”  I told her,  “apparently coconut oil can do the trick.”

She literally looked at me like I had handed her a winning lottery ticket.  Like after the shit storm that life (and the skies of South Florida)  had chosen to send us that day – there was a glimmer of hope at the end of the coughing-baby rainbow.

You know how I knew about the coconut oil thing? From my best friend whose crunchy-mommy remedies have always come through in a bind.  The friend who always answers on the first ring just when I need her advice the most, even when her own baby girl is demanding all of her time and attention.

Do you know why I ended up at a pediatric pulmonary and allergy specialist yesterday afternoon instead of back at my pediatricians office for the 4th time in two weeks? Because a different trusted mama friend invited us over for a play date a day earlier, because she’s so damn sweet like that, and took one listen to Bella’s rattling chest and knew just who to send me to.

Do you know how I made it through the day today, even though I was dying inside? Dying to just be at home with my coughing-cutie all day, letting her get better while I doted on her hand and foot… I made it through because each and every single time I had a moment to glance at my phone, I had a text or call from a friend “just checking in.”

From my mom who was scrambling to get to school to be able to pick up the baby and bring her for her blood tests.

From my grandma, mother in law, and aunt, just wanting to know how our day was going and how Bella was feeling.

From my neighbor, who, bless her heart, is another lifesaver – a young mama and nurse, she’s looking out for me every single day… Giving me tricks for Bella’s nebulizer treatments, taking walks with me and our girls to vent about everything only another mom could understand.

Do you know what it’s like to know that no matter what may happen on a day-to-day basis in this beautifully messy world I’m living in, I have a strong-ass village of mamas behind me, no matter what?

THE VILLAGE, LADIES, THE VILLAGE.

My point is this – if you’re lucky enough to have a small village helping you get through the mom-race, it really CAN feel like a winning lottery ticket.

If you’re open enough to share your mom-successes, your mom-fails, seek help when you’re desperate, fall apart when the time is right, and reach out to the mamas around you – you’ve got your winning lottery ticket for life, your village.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… We are all in this together.

Be the mama that makes the other rain-soaked, shoe-less, mascara-smeared mamas day just a little bit better.

Memorize the map to your village.IMG_8649

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