QUOTE

Showing Up When It Hurts


When you’re three years old and King of the Tree House, there’s nothing better than slamming the trap door shut to keep out your big sister. I’m pretty sure that’s what my son Isaac was doing when his finger got in the way and he nearly took the tip clean off.

Over the next few hours, I learned a lot about motherhood. Things like, “Stop panicking. They are reacting to you. BE THE MOM HERE.” But I also learned valuable lessons about community and solidarity in the midst of pain.

SheLoves Magazine has been focused on the theme of solidarity this month, and they graciously allowed me to tell my story, even though it involves dangling finger tips. Okay, I left out the gruesome parts! But solidarity is such an important concept to me, and this experience allowed me to witness the impact others' acts of simple compassion on my own family. 


American Girl's Guide to Kissing: An Addendum

All the kissing. Saying hello. Saying good-bye. And then there's me... making it as awkward as possible for all involved.

My original American Girl's Guide to Kissing included gems like "The Smoosh Face" and "The Mrs. Robinson." But recently, I added my latest addition by personally crossing all lines of social boundaries. I affectionately call this kiss "The Line Crosser."



Our flight to New York was delayed a gazillion hours before eventually being cancelled. Then we essentially entered a foot race with everyone else in the Delta wing of the Atlanta airport as scores of flights were cancelled and everyone was rushing to customer service to rebook.

Essentially, it was madness. Oh, and did I mention it was perfect, sunny weather outside? When we'd arrived at the airport that fine morning to fly out for a weekend getaway, we were stunned to find zombie-like people wandering the terminals and sleeping on the floor. Apparently, we were all supposed to understand because it had rained two days prior. Oh, and this insanity only impacted Delta flights and was described as a major meltdown. But I digress.

When I accidentally commandeered a gate agent who graciously got us on an afternoon flight, I asked about our luggage. "Oh, we're not worrying about luggage," she told me. How nice for you, I thought.

So when our flight finally landed in New York around 9 p.m., all the passengers rushed the little office near baggage claim. The customer service rep was unaware of the foolishness happening in Atlanta, and was overwhelmed and unprepared.

Now enter the Honduran couple. I recognized them from the Atlanta airport because Billy had jumped in a couple times to translate the repeated delays for them.

"Oh, I don't speak Spanish," customer service lady proclaimed loudly and leaned back in her chair as they stood patiently at the counter. It was clear she would be serving these customers.

I was alone in line while Billy scanned the carousel, eeking out our last vestiges of hope that our bags might have miraculously arrived. What choice did I have but to get involved? I started speaking my pitiful Spanish to this couple.

"Are you fluent?" the airport employee asked me.

"No," I told her. "My husband is." As if she cared. 

"Well, can you ask them when they last saw their bags?" Seems like the very question we should be asking you, but whatever. I butchered some approximation of that question. Then, I erroneously told them their bags were still in Honduras until they reminded me they saw them at customs. Finally, I communicated the essence of wherever they are, they aren't here when I heard the wife start talking about medication.

Cue me frantically texting Billy to abandon the carousel and come help! He arrived and got everything as straightened out as it could be. As we all began to exit the little room of baggage doom, she thanked us for our help.

Naturally, I assumed she wanted to kiss me. AS WE ALL DO.

I leaned towards her, cheek first, and I saw her adjust her expectations of our farewell and realize that it was going to be hard NOT to kiss me. I heard myself thinking, "What is wrong with me?"

And that, my friends, is when I became a line crosser. She graciously kissed me because what choice did she have? I'm pretty sure I kissed her, too. People in line were definitely looking at me weird. And I just wanted to get away from it all.

She must've not been too freaked out, though, because we then proceed to do the awkward "exit together." Where you've already said good-bye, but then you squeeze out of the same door. And then they ask you where ground transportation is. And then ask you to please call their niece on your cell phone and talk to her and tell her where they are.

Come to think of it, typical lines of social interaction were being crossed left and right. I don't feel so bad about my potentially line crossing friendliness. It happens.

I did at some point refer to this encounter as "our double date with that Honduran couple," though that's probably just me taking it too far. What can I say? I see lines, and I cross them. 

A Life with Subtitles. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.