If only I could tell her that her family looked like the Hispanic/2-daughter version of mine.
If only I could tell her that her eldest child, a girl with just barely enough hair to pull into a ponytail walked the same hasty inward-turning steps as mine.
If only I could tell her that her youngest child, a baby in the second half of her first year of life, held her head high and alert just like my boy of the same age.
If only I could tell her that her eldest child refusing to sit in the high chair because (daggone it!) she’s so independent reminded me of mine.
If only I could tell her that the little baby laughs out of nowhere paired with an amazing smile that lit up the room was just what made my days too.
If only I could tell her my daughter would have demanded soup and only soup, soup, soup too.
If only I could tell her that when her daughter wanted soup but it had cheese in it (and everything else “kid-friendly” was made with milk, I struggle with it too.
If only I could tell her that when “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” is sang at the top of a toddler’s lungs to make her baby sibling laugh, it was just like mine.
If only I could tell her that we were the only ones in the restaurant and not to be embarrassed one of the children cried–I’ve been there too.
If only I could tell her that I was proud to see young parents, clearly in love, raising two beautiful children to be smart, funny, and enjoyable when this world throws families lots of hurdles (just like mine).
If only I could tell her that on this night, I needed this observation from the outside, to understand that we don’t always have to be “perfect” to be perfect to the outside world.
If only I could tell her, thank you for letting our paths cross and my eyes and ears wander to your side of the room.
* * *
The other night, I was enjoying a dinner alone in an empty hotel restaurant and a family of four (pretty much just like mine, but Hispanic) came to dine. Missing my children and my husband deeply, I needed to see this, and welcomed their company, even if only across the empty room. I was glad that God put them in front of me to see that even when I feel crazed and “oh no, what must people think of us as parents”, everything really is ok. What a blessing. Thank you, whoever you were, for being my angel.