She clutched a cranky toddler at her hip while her husband lugged a stroller up three bus steps. “Come on, buddy, find a seat!” She urged an unruly older brother, maybe four or five years old. Through her thick southern accent, I heard the unmistakable sound of tired. Make that tired-yet-trying-to-muster-patience. After all, we were in Disney World. It’s the happiest place on Earth.
I chuckled under my breath as my husband hauled our own double stroller onto the bus. Our six-year-old climbed into a seat, so I wilted beside her and lifted our three-year-old onto my lap. She stuck her thumb in her mouth and let her eyelids droop to the floor.
Southern Mama took the seat across from mine. We locked gazes.
“Enough fun for one day?” I smiled in spite of my exhaustion.
“More fun than I can handle.” She cracked a smile, too. “And we start all over again tomorrow morning—at Epcot.”
“Where are you from?”
“Louisiana. Drove here in an RV. Next time, we’re flying.” She shook her head and laughed. “Where y’all from?”
“Wisconsin,” I said. “We definitely opted for the airplane.”
Over the next ten miles to our resort, this fellow mom and I exchanged stories of school (yes, really, my kids climb snow hills at recess) and weather (you think it’s chilly here? seriously?) and the best place to buy trading pins (eBay, who knew). When the bus pulled into our depot, we wished one another good night and happy trails—then she pushed her stroller left and I pushed mine right.
And I realized.
I just met myself.
Sure, the drawl was different, the gender of her kids, her hair, her hometown, her husband. But any woman who has cradled a newborn in her trembling hands and seen that tiny babe grow through six diaper sizes and four Gerber stages, who knows the special torture of sleepless nights and pre-dawn wake-up calls, who shops for monkey underwear and fruit snacks and LEGO sets on sale, who rolls over to make room for a sleepyhead who had a bad dream, who quells tantrums and throws a few herself, and who loves her family with a heart bigger than the moon—she’s my soul sister. She gets me. Because she’s a mom.
Motherhood is universal.
Everywhere we went in Disney World, my husband and I saw parents—from New Jersey, Idaho, Ireland and Japan—buying Mickey ice cream bars and lifting youngsters onto their shoulders for a better view of the parade. They scolded crabby children, wiped ketchup off chins, snapped eager photos of Cinderella and implored little people to please make a choice, chicken nuggets or a hot dog.
We’re a lot more alike than different. Millions of moms. Millions of kids. And one God who watches over us all.
“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young,” (Isaiah 41:11).
Isn’t it comforting to know that God is gently leading us? He’s not prodding or pulling our leash; he is tender, kind and safe. He knows this mom journey can be rocky terrain, and he guides us through with compassion.
After all, we’re not just moms. We’re children, too—God’s children. Which makes us sisters. You, me, Louisiana lady and countless moms around the world. We’re in this together.
Let’s encourage one another.
Laugh with one another.
Love one another.
And point each other to Jesus.
So if you meet me on a bus, or on a playground, or at the grocery store or the school play, don’t be shy. Say hello. Help me with my stroller and I’ll help you with yours. I’ll remind you that you’re not alone, and you’ll give me a reason to laugh at myself. Then someday, when our kids are grown, maybe we’ll meet at Disney World—as grandparents.
Grammy will gladly spring for the ice cream bars. But she don’t push no stroller, y’all. Amen?