We think we move through the world unseen.

The adorable Nico, looking oddly like Einstein

Here’s the scene.

Ben, Nico and I are leaving the park and going to stroll home. As usual, Nico does NOT want to sit in the stroller. I say to him calmly, “Okay Nico. If I let you walk, you have to stay with mama and B on the sidewalk.”

“Yeah!” he shouts enthusiastically. And off we go.

Walking down the street with Nico is, shall we say, trying. Stressful at best, infuriating at worst. I distract him into the stroller as often as I can because it is SO much easier to get home, but he won’t have it this day. I decide to stay open, to be one of those mamas that says yes! that doesn’t shove her baby in a stroller, but lets them go free. Free range baby! And then I take a deep breath.

Calm and assertive

I have a mantra for these moments– when Nico won’t hold my hand while crossing the street, when he darts off the sidewalk and I have to sprint after him, when he runs full bore in the opposite direction we are headed. When he hurls his entire body onto the cement in protest when I try to corral him to go our way.

I chant to myself, Calm and assertive. Calm and assertive. I’m not sure why, but this helps me stay grounded and not lose my cool, even though I can feel that rage building inside of me, that part of me that wants to yell and scream and bend him to my will. That part of me that feels out of control, that’s afraid I can’t keep him safe.

Except this day the mantra is not working. And I am tired and they are tired and I am terrified Nico is going to get hurt. So I grab him and scold him, “That’s a no-no! You have to stay with mama and B!” And he is screaming, trying to wriggle out of my grasp and bucks his head back toward mine. Hard. He clocks me under the chin and I bite down on my tongue so hard I feel dizzy with pain and blood.

Without a word, I set him down. Then I close my eyes, put my head in my hands, and quietly sob.

I cry for the pain first, but that just opens the floodgates. I am crying for all of it now. For the exhaustion, for the stress going on in our family, for my flaws as a parent, for the way I am trying to hold it together each day. I hear Ben say politely, “Mama? Is there anything I can do?” But I can’t even answer. I feel far away.

Then I hear a little girl’s voice. “Are you okay?”

Two little girls’ faces are peering out from the fence just a few feet away. Apparently, only inches away from the stroller on the other side of the fence (overgrown with vines) are two little girls having afternoon tea. The mom comes out as well and ushers me inside. “You have two kids?” she asks. “I totally get it,” and waves us in. “Would you like some cookies?” I nod yes and suddenly register where we have landed.

In front of me is a gorgeous magical garden and two 8 year old girls in nightgowns and bonnets seated at a tiny white table having tea. The table is underneath an asian pear tree, dripping with fruit. Straight out of a fairy tale people! Within seconds, Ben and Nico are double-fisting chocolate covered graham crackers and two adorable girls are fawning over them.

And then the clincher.

“Do you guys want to see the newborn kittens?”
Seriously. They said this. I’m not even joking.

We visited the kittens in the back of the closet, swung from the pear tree and bribed Nico back into the stroller with the help of the cookies. I thanked them and told the girls that they made my day. They were so genuinely excited, they hugged me.

I relayed this story to Matt when I got home and cried even harder in telling it. They were so sweet… I sobbed. And he gave me that look, like he was nodding in affirmation, but also wondering if maybe I was on my period or something.

We think we move through the world unseen

But this is what moved me: We think we move through the world unseen. But sometimes (just inches away even) is someone who can hold the hard stuff with you. Our vulnerability creates a space for connection. A tender place where others are allowed to step in and offer what they naturally want to give — their comfort, their kindness, their presence.

I was moved that other moms know the look. That beaten down, exhausted, I-can’t-handle-this-anymore look, and being seen with compassion in these spaces can feel healing and connecting.

Kindness can transform the hardest of moments.

Our most powerful gift

I was walking down the street a few years ago and saw a woman crying in the distance. I imagined walking up to her, offering to simply sit with her or listen if she wanted to talk. I felt like I could help, but I talked myself out of it, told myself it was intrusive and that I should give her space. She was a stranger after all.

I’ve always regretted it.

Like those little girls, I think we naturally move toward others in their vulnerability. Offering our presence is the one thing we always have to give, and the most powerful gift we can offer.

I was trained at a young age to give people their space, to not pry, not to ask questions, to not get into anyone else’s business. If I had a problem myself, it was not to be dumped on anyone else. But I can see now that this advice was from people who were terrified of their own vulnerability.

The truth is this

We need each other. And we need our friends (family, neighbors, anybody) to know the real truth about how we are doing. We need to remember that we all struggle, and if it ever looks perfect from the outside? well, it is far from that. We need strangers to comfort us too, to remind us that help can come from anywhere, even from the most unexpected places. We need to remember that (mostly) the world is safe and good and sometimes even a little bit magic.

83 Comments

  1. Posted August 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    This is so beautiful, the moment as it unfolded and the way you told it, the force of love and magic that moves all of it. Thank you so much for sharing this, for reminding us.

  2. Carmen
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I love you.

  3. Posted August 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    This is beautiful, Andrea. Thanks so much for sharing. You write so honestly and beautifully.

  4. Posted August 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been having a really hard time lately. Your post gave me joy. And made me feel loving towards everyone I care about. Thank you!

  5. Cheryl
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I have so had those parenting moments. So glad for the little girls and their mothers with the kindness to reach out. Not judge or offer advice, just reach out so you knew you weren’t alone.

  6. simone
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Before the part about the girls and the tea party, I read the sentence where Ben asks, “Mama? Is there anything I can do?” and thought, my god, that Ben is such a dear. You must be a great mama for him to come up with a question like that…for reals.

  7. Jennifer
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Oh my goodness…you have such courage to share your story with us. It is beautiful and raw and real. I am honored to be witness, so sorry for “the struggle” and so joyful that those little girls and their mama opened themselves to you and you to them. Love and light to you…

  8. jennifer
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    these are the posts that keep me coming back year after year after year. you speak the truth.

  9. Posted August 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I’m finding it hard at the moment. Your honesty is so helpful.

    I’m going to remember that image – that just inches away there is a magical, sunlit garden with a tea party and kittens….

    I have three boisterous little boys. One of them has hearing problems, which are fixable, but I’ve never heard him say “mama”. I feel sick for having missed that there was a problem and am wondering if I have stuffed things up permanently. The Doctors are pleased that I picked it up so soon, but that wicked little voice says “You weren’t paying attention”.

    I’ve been reading your website over the last couple of days and have found it a real comfort and joy. I am torn between my creative urges and my children; like you I am Highly Sensitive and get really easily overstimulated. I think that you’re showing me a way to make all these things work together, rather than pulling me apart…

    Thankyou – even when its painfully hard for you, your honesty and search for joy and meaning is giving hope and comfort to someone on the other side of the world :)

    xxx
    Molly

  10. Posted August 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    What an amazing story. We have all had those moments. How beautiful that you were saved by a tea party and kittens.

  11. Paula J.
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your courage, your honesty, and your beauty, Andrea. I salute your vulnerability, your regret, your mama tears, the whole shebang–with a massive, loving virtual hug.

  12. -L
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Once again, totally moved to tears. You wrote this beautifully Andrea! I’m right there w/ you. This is exactly where we are at w/ Noah too and often Sam needs my attention while Noah is running off but he is patient most days. Noah is often patient too but he definitely is at that stage of, “let me do it my way and no I will not sit in a stroller, a car seat or a high chair!”. It’s totally exhausting and I get it. I get that feeling of wanting to cry or scream but also wanting to be that “carefree” mom who has the free range baby. TOTALLY NOT in my nature because I too and scared to death that he’ll hurt himself and in my mind I hear myself saying, there are no do overs if he really gets hurt! There is a playground called in our area named after a two year old who ran from the play area into the road and was killed. They now have it gated but OMG! It’s such a strong reminder of how quickly they run off at that age and how hard it all is! It’s hard! It’s Hard! It’s hard! No one has the right to judge how you, me or anyone else mothers our children because we are doing the very best we can with what we know right now! Also, we all have different personalities. I try not to be the helicopter mom but I get nervous about them hurting themselves and I am vigilant so whatever . . .I am who I am and I do it the way I do it! It’s all okay (I say now from the comfort of my computer while my little ones are safely playing in the same room as me).

    The part about being vulnerable and saying the truth of what’s going on and being there for others and letting them be there for you . . . oh this is so big! I agree w/ all that you said and I feel stifled when I try to reach out to other woman. I feel shamed if I say I’m grieving, I’m suffering because we have all this painful extended family stuff and they say but you have two beautiful children or you are so lucky to have a good relationship. It makes me feel even worse. It makes me SO angry that they assume because I am sad or hurting about one thing that it would mean I don’t appreciate something else! AHHHHH It’s all so frustrating. There is a lot of cinfusing information out there that tells people to keep it to themselves, that nobody wants to know, that everyone has their own crap, to let go . . . . WTF? It sounds so cold and mean and ugly. It’s not victim hood to need to talk about something difficult? It’s not co-dependent to need someone to listen or for you to listen to another . . . that’s called compassion!

    I was in so much pain and was so overwhelmed after our first baby was born 5 years ago. I had an emergency c-section and complications and I ended up w/ the baby blues. My husband had to work crazy long hours and I had NO ONE around me to help, NO ONE to check on me. I tried to reach out to friends and was surprised by how difficult it all was. The one friend (of 20 yrs) who I had been there for through everything I thought would be there for me in some way . . . just as a friend who would at least take part in the joy of our 1st baby. She came over a few weeks after he was born and was aloof (she now has two children but at the time I know she was worried it would not happen for her). When I explained how hard it was for me to recover from the c-sec her response was to say, “well you had a choice. You could have said no. Woman can say no to c-secs.” I explained it was an emergency c-sec and that no we could not say no and how the hell was I supposed to say no to my doctor after 24 plus hours of labor, no progress and me and our precious baby were showing signs of distress!? She had no idea what she was talking about but in a very aloof way she kept saying I must have handled it wrong and had no one to blame but myself! What I was asking her for was a space to be heard and a space to cry and grieve for how things had gone, I was asking for kindness and caring. She is lucky enough to have very supportive loving parents and me! I guess I thought I could lean just for a few minutes in that painful moment when I was a brand new mom and had no one and so desperately needed support!!

    We live in a time where families don’t live around each other and families are broken and don’t support each other when new babies come or share in the joy. At least that’s my experience and what I see a lot of. Where other mothers compete instead of express kindness and understanding for one another even in mother’s groups which sometimes seem to be the worst for judging, exclusion and competing. It’s hard not to have the community that my own mother and grandmother had where the previous generations helped and were excited about the grandchildren, nephews, nieces or friends and reached out with love. If I lived closer to you Andrea . . . I would be honored to help!xoxo

  13. -L
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Oh P.s. About the way Matt was looking at you . . . LOL! Yes, I totally get that too!

  14. -L
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    P.p.s. I also believe that what you need shows up and sometimes you really get that, that help is right there and sometimes you don’t. You got it and oh so cool the form it came in! Like a dream. I love that kind of magic. You guys could always stop back by there sometime w/ some cookies for the girls or something. Very special. So glad they showed up in your moment of pain.

  15. Tracey (sparkyd)
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE this post. Everything about it. So great.

  16. Imogen
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I’ve chipped three teeth getting clocked in the jaw by my kid’s bucking head! In a way I am honored to have that head whacking into me … but sometimes it just makes me lose it. If only we could all be invited to a magic secret tea party at times like this.

    Packing for the Cape and bringing my Superhero necklace with me.

  17. Posted August 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    This is a amazing story with a beautiful ending!

    When I’ve had surreal experiences like this, I often wonder if they person or people were even real, or were they just angels sent to take care of me in that moment.

    Even if they’re still there when you walk by next time, they’re still angels…

  18. cheri
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Today was a rough day for me as a mom. Not extraordinarily tough, but just felt like I’m not cut out for this “mom thing”. This post appeared today of all days and brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I feel selfish, inadequate, trapped and angry all because I yearn for the “right” answers. Why can’t I model compassion rather than impatience? Why can’t I find the perfect thing to say to create peace between my boys? Why do I lose my temper and end up sounding just like them? It’s so healing to know I’m not alone. Healing to know other mothers might see my flaws and still find me worthy of compassion. To accept me as a mother who really needs her work, girlfriends and quiet space and really delights in my children more when I have these things as part of the balance. Rereading my questions, I realize they are more judgements. The unspoken answer in my head is, “because you’re a bad mother.” Wow. Self-compassion: easy in theory, hard in practice. Sometimes we need compassion from someone else to wake us up to the realization we deserve it from ourselves. Thanks, Andrea, for sharing this story.

  19. Posted August 10, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    I remember a day in the grocery store when my son was somewhere between 18 and 24 months. He had been having a difficult time and finally he slapped me. I told him it wasn’t ok to hurt me and we couldn’t stay in the store. We left my partner to finish the shopping and in my moment of overwhelm I forgot to get the car keys. I found myself in the crazy busy parking lot with a child who did not want to stay with me, no way to get into my car without returning to the store and I just didn’t know how I was going to make it for the next 5 minutes. A woman walked by me and said “you’re doing a great job.” It was a lifeline. I still hold onto that moment of understanding even 8 years later. I felt so seen and validated in that moment. I knew I was going to make it after that.

    Another time, when he was about 18 months, I had to stand in a parking lot of the co-op on a 90degree day for at least 30 minutes waiting for him to not fight me to get into his car seat. I had only meant to run to the store to pick up a few things for my partner who was recovering from surgery. I was going to be gone just a few minutes. I cried a lot during trying to get him into his car seat. People looked at me but not a single one acknowledged me in any way. I had never felt so alienated, invisible and inept.

    I try to always acknowledge to stressed out mom who looks like she’s barely hanging on now and if it looks like I can help someone struggling in any way I ask. I always always regret the times I don’t. Sometimes we just need to be seen.

  20. Susie
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Andrea, I am not a mother, but a nanny. The story you’ve shared here in this post has helped me so much too. I think you are incredible. You shine with truth and love.

  21. Posted August 11, 2012 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Beautifully written Andrea. I am sure this will help a lot of women realise they are not alone when they most need it.

  22. Posted August 11, 2012 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Made me cry (which is good :) xo Jennifer

  23. Posted August 11, 2012 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    5 years ago i went walking through Green Park in London… one morning very early..it was cold and the air was crisp… i walked pass a young woman on a bench, crying openly , not even noticing the people around her… i just passed her (because you don’t ask questions…)… i bought myself a cup of tea and on my way back turned around, and got this lady a cup of tea too. I sat down next to her, gave her the cup of tea and without words, we sat there drinking our tea… she only said thank you…looked very surprised but didn’t say anything else… i believe that me noticing her, seeing her sadness, her tears, aknowledging that she is going through a tough time… must have made it better… and tea.. ihope that warmed her heart.

    you are a great mama Andrea… the magic are within xx

  24. Posted August 11, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    tears flowing with gratitude for your honesty. turning 40 last year felt like an opening, a shamanic initiation into being honest, vulnerable, real in the moment, as is. trying to trust that this raw revealing will not get me killed (because sometimes it feels like that). your stories help me lean into trust, help me believe i can survive this truth-telling/truth-being, and maybe even be held with love. thank you, andrea.

  25. Posted August 11, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Yes. I love this so. It can feel like such a failure to be so vulnerable (can’t keep it together!!!) but so much beauty can be found when we allow it to be.

  26. Posted August 11, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    this is such an amazingly raw and beautiful story. i love how brave you are in sharing, the truth, just like that. so, so goof. thank you

  27. Kimberley McGill
    Posted August 11, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Love this, Andrea. You are one amazing woman and mother. Thank you for reminding me that magic is afoot!

  28. Kristen
    Posted August 11, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Your writing and truth telling continue to amaze and inspire me.

  29. Posted August 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    This is beautiful. Thankyou for sharing this story, Andrea, and all the hard moments. You’re not alone in the hard moments, as the comments here testify. Lovelovelove to you from another Bay Area-er.

  30. Fourth Breakfast
    Posted August 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    As always, you share the universal moment in such personal way. Thx

  31. Posted August 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Oh my, how I relate to this moment. My little one isn’t so little anymore — 10 very soon. But those moments when something happens and you just need to sit and cry are just a part of being a mom, I think.

  32. Posted August 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    oh, this post is SO refreshing! I can relate 100% !!! i always try to stay calm during those moments and it can be SO difficult…when all i wanna do is cry. but one thing i’m starting to embrace is that it’s truly OK and healing to cry. i had a meltdown yesterday, right in front of my daughter….and i explained to her why i was crying and that it was OK to cry b/c it was healing…and it really was the best for both of us. i used to hold it in…now i try to release it…but these toddler years are definitely hard. thank you for writing this b/c i don’t feel so alone when it comes to this. ahhhhhhhhh! :)

  33. jane
    Posted August 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    this made me cry and want to be the girl wth the kittens and love Ben for saying that and be your friend all at once

  34. Posted August 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Such a beautiful telling! Andrea, your post brought tears to my eyes. I could imagine every nuance of the story that you described. You are such an artful wordsmith, and you are one awesome momma. Thank you for sharing!

  35. Posted August 11, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Love & gratitude for this…beautiful post and so true it made my heart swell just a little bit more. xo Two

  36. Posted August 11, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    OK,
    Awesome. Well said and reported. I had the tough moment today with my “baby” who is now 15 and wants to get her lip pierced ( I basically have not prob with it). She is doing the teenage version of not holding my hand and running away, tears…..
    Nice woman at the grocery store, got it, helped and shared it. Life.

  37. Posted August 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Teary-eyed over here. It makes me think of a time I was at the post office in Norway and saw a girl sitting on a bench, holding a letter in her hand and crying. I wanted to ask if I could help but I was afraid to do so because I didn’t speak Norwegian. Finally, I got up the nerve to ask and she told me a story that I haven’t forgotten because it was so heart wrenchingly awful and I sat with her for a while and hugged her. It reminds me that I am much better about being there for others in their vulnerability than I am about being vulnerable and letting people be there for me. I want to be better at both.

    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this and reminding me.

  38. Mel
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Oh the kindness of strangers in moments like this, truly priceless! I am glad you had this experience:)

  39. Lisa
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    I cried just reading this! Nice to know there are still people in the world that care. It seems that everyone is always so wrapped up in themselves. This has just affirmed what I have been feeling and discovering lately about my community. The realization that I do not live in or have one. Ultimately, we want to move in a year to a place where things like this ooze community. I love your mantra!Thanks for sharing this wonderful moment!

  40. Kathleen Kosares
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this.

  41. Katrina
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Andrea. Your words change lives. X X X

  42. Posted August 12, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Wow. What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. This is one of those posts that will stick with me for a long time. I love the baby kittens. Best part. I hope your chin is okay!

  43. Sara
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Thank you. We all needed this….a reminder to acknowledge each other, a reminder to soften our hearts, open up, be kind and aware of each other. We can do it. You remind us how.

  44. Vanessa
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Andrea, through your writing and your willingness to be so open, eloquent and vulnerable, you touch so many of us all the way across the world!

    You make such a wonderful difference! I am also the proud wearer of one of your glorious necklaces, so you brighten my world on multiple levels.

    Thank you!

  45. Carolyn
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I think this is my favorite blog post of the year. I love how you share with us your story-the beauty and the vulnerability, and there is something we always can all relate to.

  46. Posted August 12, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I connected through Liz Lamoreaux’s blog. She said she was in tears and so am I. Going to forward this to my daughter as well. Thank you for opening this gift to us in blog world.

  47. Posted August 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Wow – thank you. I happened upon your blog, as apparently did many others, because of this beautiful post. And I subscribed! You are one brave and authentic mama; thank you for sharing that gift.

  48. Posted August 12, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes in those moments with my two children, when I’m struggling so much to find patience, to move about my day, and then in a moment of upset I get hurt (a hit to the face, or a head to the face like you had), I feel as though I’m the absolute worst failure of a mother. Sometimes I cry and my daughters ask me what’s wrong, so I tell them my body hurts, or my feelings are hurt. Sometimes I fall into laughter at the absurdity. Mostly I just feel very alone in those moments.

    This post was beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  49. michelle a
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Love! Sob..sniff…sob! XOXOXO

  50. Isavoyage
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Your post, as it often happens, made me cry for several minutes. I am SO happy someone was there for you.

  51. Adam
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I love beautifully serendipitous moments like this, where you feel like you are falling headfirst blindly into the abyss, and just like that, the Universe is there to grab you, and gently place you back into safety, back into balance. This story truly warmed my heart. Thank you for sharing such an amazing experience with us.

  52. M Payne
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    This is so helpful and inspiring, thank you so much for sharing! my son is 3 and totally like Nico, super active and listening to me is not on the top of his list – his curiosity always wins! It always helps to hear other mothers being open and honest about what their day has really been like. I have so many moments where I feel alone and incompetent as a parent – like its a new pair of shoes I’m trying to break in and they never seem to get more comfortable!! Thank you for sharing your true self, as always. And that boy looks so much like you, he’s adorable!!!

  53. Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    God, Andrea, thank you. Sitting here crying reading this, a small piece of me having cracked wider open. Thank you. xo

  54. Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad you wrote about this, Andrea. I am in that mindset at least once a day! My family doesn’t get it at all, so I don’t often feel valued in my overwhelmed=ness. We may be “calm and assertive” most of the time, but those moments of sheer exhaustion are so so hard. I understand. I just love how you wrote about this!

  55. Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I have been there on more than one occasion. Wondering if I am actually tipping over an edge. I have never found girls in bonnets though. How magical and soul soothing.

    I love your mantra, I am going to try to remember it at the times I need to remember it.

    I had the experience of seeing someone upset a couple of years ago as well, and as much as I felt called to go to her, so she knew she was seen, I didn’t.

    She is one of my regrets and I think of her now and again. I would make a different choice next time.

    Thank you for sharing. A day when I needed to be reminded of sharing, connection and magic.

  56. Posted August 14, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Beautiful post…and as with everything your write, it fills my sense of hope for humanity.

  57. SueB
    Posted August 14, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Since she could say the word, my five-year-old has insisted that she is magic. That I am magic, that we all are. She is right. It’s just that some of us — like you — let the magic out more often. What if we all did? Can you imagine?

  58. Posted August 14, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Andrea…my face is dripping tears right now. Oh, how this hit my tender, aching, tired spots.

    I’m overwhelmed with being a mommy right now, with all of it, really…I too have 2 little ones, I was with you, my heart nodding, through every word of this.

    Thank you for sharing your Real.

    With so much love & tenderness & understanding,

    Julia

  59. Posted August 15, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Andrea, this summer has been the LONGEST of my life. Your post gives me hope.
    I adore your stories and how you tell them.
    I’m still shaking my head about the newborn kitties!! xx tj

  60. Posted August 15, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Tears streaming down my cheeks as I read this. I only have one kiddo but have been to this place, too. We hold so much, so independently as much as we can, but you’re right – we don’t have to. We’re not designed to. We need each other. And how good it feels to be on both sides of that moment – to be the one giving from a full cup, and to be the one surrendering into open arms.

    Beautifully told story. You are living a marvelous life as an example for your two gorgeous sons. One moment at a time.

  61. debbie
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    your stories remind me of the magic of the universe … you are such an incredible and precious gift in my life. you write about magic and beauty because you are magic and beauty. thank you for that. thank you for all of it.

  62. Jennifer Kley
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Wowza. Wowza. Wowza. I love those girls! I love the very layers of this story, how the event unfolded. From sobbing on the street to being comforted by two 8-yr-old girls who were having a tea party WITH BONNETS. Then the kittens?! Are you kidding me? Beautiful.

  63. Vivienne
    Posted August 17, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Thanks Andrea. You are such a great sharer :P
    I adore your voice and I think this is a great experience to share with us.

  64. Posted August 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for these beautiful words. I was moved to tears myself. Great reminder that we don’t have to feel so alone in this world – the world in general and in the world of having young kids. I look forward to following this site.

  65. Posted August 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read in awhile…and I’m reading beautiful things! Moved me to tears and open mouthed smiles. You are such a beautifully conscious, grateful, endearing spirit Andrea.

  66. Ally
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I love that you get it.
    I have felt so alone, so many times, and wished that someone that I love would see it and care and offer support or comfort or even just like you said, their presence.
    But I have found that I am typecast as the strong one, the rock, and that I am not supposed to breakdown, to cry to be vulnerable and often it is strangers that have given me the most.
    I can’t give you a concrete example, because despite my best efforts vulnerability scares the *&^( out of me.
    I still dont have a blog because of this. I’m scared to let myself go, to put myself out there, but I’m realizing after reading your blog so such a long time now, that maybe it’s okay to share.
    Maybe it’s what I need to heal. Maybe the strength of strangers will hold me up when me and my family can’t.
    Anyways, thank you so much for sharing and I’m glad that cookies, kittens, and 8 year old girls found you all.

  67. christie
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    AMEN!

  68. Kathleen aka "Chillybeans" Harrigan
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    So very very beautiful, life is about sharing our stories so that we do not feel so alone. You have the uncanny ability to be so very real. I wish I could have known you when my kids were little, what a trying time and I broke down in tears so many times with no one to pick me up…thank you for sharing…I would have invited you in for tea as well xxooo

  69. Posted September 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this! I have just found your blog, and will be a follower now for sure :)

  70. Jax
    Posted September 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I canNOT stop crying…because I have too many of these days as well, minus the fairy tale rescue, of course. We are a military family who have had 4 addresses in 3 states in less than 2 years. My husband spends a lot of time away, so I am essentially a married single mother of two toddler boys…with a lot on my plate. But what I don’t understand, and what disappoints me most, is that if I don’t have time to go to happy hour or invite people over for some beers and a bbq, a lot of people just write me off as unsociable, rather than recognizing that I am just. that. freaking. overwhelmed. This post gives me hope :)

  71. Posted September 15, 2012 at 3:33 am | Permalink

    This really hit home. With a 3 year old and 6 month old twins I can relate to much of what you shared. Especially, the need to sob and the tendency to hold back and not intrude. Thanks for sharing.

  72. Posted October 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Wow, thank you.

  73. Posted October 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    This was so beautiful! I wanted to cry when I read it and I’m happy that you shared your story!

  74. softlyfalling
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    This touched my heart deep in it’s core. I have always stopped for others no matter who – except once. A man on the street lying alongside a shop window looking up & in & not very happy. My heart told me stop & ask – my fear of him yelling at me to mind my own stopped me. I walked on but it stayed with me so much so, that as I returned I decided I would bite the bullet & ask if he needed assistance. Upon my return he was nowhere to be seen, but still it stayed with me, niggling in my soul & I related to event to most everyone I knew later. A few days later one of those friends rushed in to tell me her mother had heard tell of a man in the street, that people had passed by. He had had a heart attack & whereas he made it to hospital – he had died later. I still weep over it. Now it makes me even more determined to be there for others. Each life touches another… touches another… touches another…

  75. Shila
    Posted February 12, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    you moved me to tears–beautiful, welcome tears. I am so grateful for this story.

  76. Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just read this and tears are streaming down my face. It’s just beautiful. Thanks for sharing this. I recently started a new log called Mummy Kindness and your post echoes exactly what I’m trying to achieve there. I’m looking forward to reading though your archives. Much love to you.

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  81. Posted August 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Amen, sister! I have a 14 month old who is asserting his independence, and there are those days where I just sit down on the kitchen floor in tears, feeling defeated. And then that little baby giggle or smile appears, or another woman WHO GETS IT, and it keeps us going. Thanks for sharing. It’s impossible to be strong all of the time!

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  83. Posted October 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I’ve read this before. Quite a while ago. I loved it then and I’m so glad I found it again today. Understanding that we are seen is extremely powerful and affirming. Such a sweet and beautiful story. Thank you.

7 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Andrea Sher’s beautiful, honest words about what motherhood is like at times and what connection is always like; heart-sourced, transformative medicine, no matter the source. [...]

  2. [...] woman brought me to tears. I simply love her and as I’m working through some tough stuff on my own end, it feels so [...]

  3. By Love That Blog: Share Your Faves! on August 13, 2012 at 8:13 am

    [...] every day, I come across a post or photo or piece of art that takes my breath away. Like Andrea Scher’s gorgeous post last week on feeling seen and understood as a harried mama. Like Kelly Rae Roberts’ recent [...]

  4. By Something Good « A Thousand Shades of Gray on August 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    [...] We think we move through the world unseen, a heartbreakingly beautiful post by Andrea Scher. Have I told you lately how much I adore [...]

  5. By Crazybananas » Blog Archive » Weekend Roundup on September 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    [...] This blog post had me in tears. And not just a drop or two…more like the Oprah ugly cry. All moms of kids 5 [...]

  6. By Starred & Shared (1) on October 21, 2012 at 4:02 am

    [...] This actually made me cry! Lots of food for thought! [...]

  7. [...] Here’s the beautiful post we talked about in the interview: Click here! [...]

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