It’s true. Nothing can quite prepare you for your first baby. It’s a full-time job. It’s past full time – it’s through the night too. You’ve probably heard about that part. You’ve probably also heard: “wait till regression”, “wait until he starts teething”, “wait until terrible twos.” The list goes on.
There is, however, a whole list you haven’t heard about. The overwhelming support and recognition of being a mother. That list is long: the gorgeous friends who regularly check up on you post-partum to see how you’re doing, sharing their stories, offering their lessons/solutions, and granting you several moments of grace; the countless moms who invite you for breakfasts and lunches and take your baby and put him on their lap like he’s their own, who hold your baby so you can eat, the aunties who take him from you at the mosque and walk across the room to show their friends like he’s their own grandson, the moms who offer to keep him for you to get a nap, the support groups, really, the list is long.
I recently traveled solo with my little one and while I’ve travelled solo often in life before (always believing God had my back and that that I’d be handed from person to person) I was a bit nervous for the 14-hour haul with this now-quite active almost four month old but continued to believe it would be ok. He was going to be my traveling buddy. And it was true. From the moment I left my parents in Canada to the moment I arrived home in Dubai, I was never alone. I had someone personally helping me through security at the airport, I had two lovely ladies right next to me on the plane. On my right, the lady from the get-go mentioned that she could hold my baby whenever I needed. As she watched him wriggle in the bassinet while I ate and saw me rushing through my food, she offered to hold him repeatedly and later as I stood and bounced him through the flight, shared stories about her children, how she had and managed twins after a one year old and her migration from Dubai to Toronto and the many lessons she learned along the way. As I took him to the bathroom to change him, a pregnant lady quickly rushed towards me offering to help with the diaper change mentioning that she had three of her own, asked how I was doing with the little one and that she was too afraid to travel with her one year old. She even checked all the bathrooms for the change table relieving me of the need to do so. As we approached landing, the lady on my left who had shared pictures of her grandson with me during the flight saw me feeling torn between holding my kiddo and packing up everything and offered to hold him (which I took her up on) and they both thoroughly enjoyed that as he giggled in her hands. As we descended, the lady behind me mentioned that feeding him would ease his landing, upon landing and the man who operated the security belt took my diaper bag and placed it on the conveyor belt for me without me saying a word. Handed, from one person to another, fully taken care of.
I left leaving this whole experience with just a re-affirmed belief that you are always taken care of and that across nationalities, across cultures, across the ocean, the Mom’s club is real. Generations and generations before us and those that are present now, are here to support. We share these stories and these are the stories that bind.