To the Woman Who Said I Look Like a Model
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It would have been a stellar compliment for anyone, but for a mom of a two month old, it was practically the highlight of my year…ok, at least my week.
When you said “I just have to tell you, you look like a model in a magazine” as I walked past you in the coffee shop a few days ago, there are a few things you probably didn’t know about me.
I’m guessing you didn’t know that I hadn’t actually showered that day. (Models are nothing, if not clean.) I’d been up all night with a fussy baby who seems to be allergic to everything–including his own mother–and had to get an almost three year old to preschool that morning; and I just couldn’t figure out how to make time to give myself a rinse too.
You had no way of knowing that in order to “look like a model” (your words, not mine), I had to strap aforementioned fussy two month old to my body–while he screamed–and put his almost three year old brother in front of the TV. All the while feeling helpless to stop the crying and guilty about using TV as a babysitter. But perhaps the make-up masked the dark circles of weariness and shame.
And I suppose you couldn’t tell that at the time you were paying me that compliment, I was breaking a mild sweat to hustle out of the coffee shop and feed the two month old before he started screaming like a mini T-Rex.
But your compliment…
It stuck with me all day long. Through the screaming and the TV watching guilt and the bone tiredness. Your compliment made me feel normal, when nothing else in this season of life does. It made me think that somewhere deep, deep down beyond the spit up, this old girl’s still got it, and maybe, just maybe she’ll find it again one day.
I’m fairly certain our paths won’t cross again, so I’ll never be able to tell you how much your words lifted my spirits. But I promise you this: I will pay it forward. I’ll keep my eyes open for just the right moment–just the right person–and plant a compliment on someone else. A sincere, heartfelt compliment that I hope will put a little bounce in their step the way yours did mine.
Because in the end, maybe we’re we all just a fussy baby away from feeling like a failure and one compliment away from feeling like a model?