Years ago when I was a little girl going through some trying times in my life, a state social worker told me that no matter what was happening in that moment, I had the ability to thrive in life. I did not understand what he meant then but I have carried that with me all of these years. When I get down, I try to really remember what he said.
It’s hard to recall during the tough times, I won’t lie. My mind fights to negate it as much as it can. But somehow, no matter what, I do finally remember it and it gets me through. And when I am feeling sorry for myself, when I feel the world is out to get me and when I feel I have been horribly wronged, I try to think of all of the things that I have made it through and come out stronger for.
About 5 years ago I was in the grocery store with my newborn daughter, Sarah. She was a tiny little thing and I was ignoring my list and spending more time thanking God for her than I was paying attention to great deals I could find.
In the store sort of on the same aisle track as me was a woman and her daughter who was probably about 12. She kept looking at my Sarah and smiling. In the Ice Cream aisle we all were in the same area and the little girl heard me call my baby Sarah. She perked up and said, “My name is Sarah too!”
I told her that was a great name and asked if she spelled it with an H or not. She said she did have an H at the end and I told her my Sarah did too! She squealed a little and said that was the best way to spell it!
I agreed and she cooed with my daughter.
When her mom was done and moving on I told the girl that I thought she was so sweet and then told her that I hoped “my Sarah turned out to be as beautiful as she was.”
She smiled that shy smile we all have, blushed and ducked her head a little. I heard a faint, “Thank you” and saw her mother smile at me from down the aisle. I truly meant it and was glad I told her that.
For years I have wondered how that Sarah is doing. No doubt a teenager now, probably almost an adult, I wonder if in the hard times when friends teased her, she had her first broken heart or has self doubt if my little words play back in her head. Do I feel arrogant thinking that I might have said something that would enter her head sometimes like my social workers words for me do? Yes. But do I hope that verbally paying it forward has helped her when she has needed it most in her life? Yes.
Granted, my speaking the absolute truth to her was a spontaneous event that surprised even me. I meant ever word and as I watch my Sarah grow, I still mean them. So far…. so good!
In this time when we all have our head buried in our phones – ME – computers and are engrossed in the Holidays and what has to be done, take a moment to remember someone who verbally paid it forward to you and what it has meant to your life.
And then take 30 seconds to verbally pay it forward to someone else. You never know, you could be impacting more than that moment. You could give them internal strength for their entire lives.
And there is almost nothing that could be a more lasting gift than that.
Find more Motherhood Posts at My Recent Writings