Sometimes we all just need a helping hand

  • Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My mom and dad are getting up in years. My mom celebrated her 87th birthday on February 29 and my daughter Jayme mentioned that she was going to buy a ticket and fly to Connecticut to surprise her.
The northeast has been hit hard by snowstorms this winter. Their normal snowfall amounts to 54 inches and they had over 100 inches this winter.
It has been especially hard on the elderly who have been held snowbound for months.
My mom mentioned several times recently that she wished she could come visit me to get out of the cold and bad weather.
I had been pondering how to get them here. My dad can no longer drive those distances, their last train trip it was determined they weren’t mobile enough to do that any longer, and a plane trip by themselves seemed too difficult.
So when Jayme announced her plans, I bought my mom and dad a ticket to come back on the same plane so she could assist them. I bought myself a round trip ticket to accompany them back to make sure they got there safely.
It was a wonderful visit. I am blessed to have them both still and their health has not been the best recently.  I took some time off work and when I had to work, my son was with them since he was on college break.
Last Sunday, my parents and I boarded the plane early in the morning in Charleston for the return trip home.
The trip was uneventful but tiring, involved wheelchairs and many accommodations.
Arriving in Hartford, I had three hours to spend getting a meal with my two sisters who greeted us at the airport before my trip back home.
I boarded the plane home with great anticipation of resting. Four plane trips in one day is not my idea of fun.
That thought went out the window when I was seated next to a toddler in the throes of the terrible twos and her mother.
The first half hour was accompanied by much yelling on both their parts.
I had a few choices – some suggested by friends later included asking to change seats or demanding more frequent flyer points for the inconvenience.
But this mother needed help. That much was obvious when she yelled at the two-year old to “drink the d*** apple juice and sit down”.
So I invited the little girl to sit on my lap for a while, at which point the mom moved to the next seat over, laid her head against the window and shut her eyes.
For the next two hours, the little girl and I colored, read from a book, read the airline literature, and played find the item in some pamphlets.
She admired my hair and my blue eyes. I admired her pretty cornrows and beads, and told her she had pretty brown eyes just like my grown daughter.
When it came time to land, she refused to sit down and buckle up for her mom, yelling and hitting her instead. Because the airlines allow children that size to be held, I took her back on my lap and held her in my arms during landing.
I assured her overwrought mom that this stage won’t last forever and that when she turns 20, they will miraculously become best friends.
I also told her that children never misbehave for anyone more than they do their primary caregiver.
She told me that she thought she was prepared, having brought the coloring book and crayons.
She never said thank you, but I know she appreciated the help.
We all do sometimes.
Someday, I will be old and fragile and pray that someone looks out for me. And one day, my own daughter may need some help and someone will offer assistance.
Sometimes we all need a helping hand, whether we are two or eighty-seven or somewhere in between.

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