You know when something happens and in the moment you freeze out of surprise or confusion? Then later on you relive that moment over and over in your mind saying all the things you wish you would have said? Not sure if we all do that, but I certainly do!
Today something like that happened but for the first time in my life I didn’t freeze.
I was waiting for the elevator. Emily was in her stroller and Romeo on his leash. I was also holding a large painting that I was moving from our old apartment to our new apartment. The elevator door opened and there was a woman inside who I have seen many times as we live in the same building.
I maneuvered the stroller into the elevator. Then I placed the painting next to the stroller. I looked back and saw the leash had twisted around Romeos foot so he was stuck. As I turned to untwist it she said, “I’d appreciate it if you hurried up. I’m kind of in a rush.”
Now this was a woman who has always struck me as impatient. Many times I have witnessed her step into the elevator and push the “close door” button as soon as she entered. She didn’t just push it once though, she would push it five or six times like rapid fire. A handful of times I heard her say to herself, “Come on come come on!” as if speaking to a non-functioning button would help.
So having this history in my mind, and having my baby and fur baby in tow, I was no doormat. I was multitasking like a boss. I was getting in that elevator with as much grace as humanly possible. And in that moment a surprising strength came over me.
I responded in a calm but firm tone, “I have a baby and a dog…and I would appreciate if you were patient.”
This must have taken her by surprise because it seemed to snap her out of her stereotypical New York City rush. She began to back pedal and asked if I needed help. She told me she had already gone to the subway and forgot her metro card and had to come all the way back to get it. She said she lost the ID for the place she was going too.
I nodded and said, “sounds like one of those days”, but I thought her story didn’t make an excuse for her lack of empathy towards a multitasking mommy. As I left the elevator (pretty smoothly while navigating a stroller, 85 pound dog and big painting I may add) she wished me luck.
I share this because 95% of the time people are kind. They are patient and offer help, and say things like “wow you’ve got your hands full, huh?” This woman wasn’t in that 95% and could have ruined my day. She didn’t.
The next time I think I’m in a rush, maybe I should stop, breathe, and look at what’s in front of me because maybe there’s a mommy with a cute baby and gentle giant puppy standing there needing a little help.