I tried hard to keep my composure and stifle the complete “momma freakout” I could feel bubbling up inside of me.
I was with my family at the Mall of America in Minneapolis. My teenage daughter and I had conquered the queen of all shopping experiences. We’d even seen Zac Efron who was promoting his latest movie, while the boys did whatever boys do when they’re waiting on their women to shop (fight mindnumbing boredom).
To reward their stamina, we all headed to the Nickelodeon theme park located in the middle of the mall. We were having a great time. Then, somehow, Mike and I got separated from the kids. And I realized that in all the excitement I’d forgotten to tell them a place to meet up if that happened.
“Where were their cell phones?” you ask. Well, at the time neither child had a cell phone. We thought we were so smart to have made them wait for this privilege. Suddenly, we didn’t feel so brilliant.
This is THE BIGGEST MALL IN AMERICA! What responsible parent doesn’t make a plan for a scenario like this?! Apparently, me.
Mike and I walked the perimeter of the park and expected we would either run into them or spot them in a line. No luck.
I decided to go back to the last place we had seen them in case they showed up there. Mike and I then began to take turns walking around the park. My heart would sink and my anxiety level spiked each time he returned empty-handed. And I prayed. And prayed. And prayed some more.
There I was surrounded by hundreds of people and I felt completely lost — and alone.
As I sat by one of the rides – and nearly 45 minutes had passed – I knew my “momma freakout” was just moments away.
Just then, a woman – another mom — touched my arm.
“Ma’am, you look really upset. Is there anything I can do for you?”
That was all it took. Every last shred of restraint came tumbling down. And I dissolved into a blubbering mess.
“I can’t find my children! My husband is looking for them! In the biggest mall in America!”
If she thought she’d just run into a whole mess of crazy, she didn’t let on. Instead she said, “It’s happened to me before, too. They’re together. I’m sure everything will be alright.”
She said it so sweetly and so confidently that I believed it. And, suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone.
I took a deep breath and began to pull myself together.
A few moments later, I turned around and saw my family walking towards me. That prompted momma freakout #2 of the day – but in a good way.
I quickly turned to the woman who had provided comfort in my time of need.
“He found them!”
“I knew he would,” she said. “I’m so glad.”
Miles from home. In a sea of strangers. In the middle of the America’s largest mall, someone found me who knew exactly how I felt and what I needed to hear.
And I didn’t even get her name.
At that moment, knowing she was “Mom” was more than enough.
We need each other, Moms. Do you know of a mom today who could use your encouragement?
Or maybe just your understanding – the knowledge that she is not alone?