I don’t talk to random strangers.
For that matter I often don’t talk to people I know when I’m out and about. (I am definitely that person who will zip into another aisle or stare straight at my feet to pretend I didn’t notice an acquaintance at the store. I really value anonymity and crave my personal time.)
That’s why my Proof of Mum goal was such a hard one to make. Even now I often find myself resorting to selfies in order to put myself in the picture of our family history instead of talking to strangers.
But this past weekend I had two experiences that demonstrated to me that I need to break out of my introverted shell a little more, having been on the receiving end of the true generosity of strangers.
We had taken the family to Point Pelee, the southernmost tip of continental Canada. As we crammed the family together and squinted toward my husband’s phone for a picture of the whole family on the edge of the country, a man nearby who was on the phone offered to take our photo. I repeat: this man was on the phone, yet he saw a need and offered to help. He took several photos, all good, while continuing his conversation.
Later my youngest plopped himself at the edge of the water to play with the rocks. I sat with him for awhile, just enjoying the moment. We listened to the waves lapping on the shore. We admired the differences between every single rock. Then a woman approached us. She asked if I would like a photo. “It’s such a sweet moment you’re having,” she explained. She knew, as all mothers know, how few photos we have of mothers mothering. “Don’t look up, it’s more natural for you to be in the moment.”
This is different than a Proof of Mum photo, but equally important. I am so touched by this simple act that I feel motivated to do the same for others. It does require talking to people I don’t know. Yes. And that will be awkward for me, especially at first. Even though I am confident that it would be well received by most people. May you also seek out ways to help another stranger.