Champagne? Don’t mind if I do…ooh, it’s Cristal!!! Of course! Only the best for my uncle’s 65th birthday! I can’t believe it! This party is totally high class: great band, great food, fabulous looking people and just look at my dress! I’m wearing the most gorgeous black and white ballgown – it’s enormous! Fantastic! Magical! Ooh, and now I have a mask on. It’s a masquerade ball, oh how elegant! And my hair is so long and gorgeous and shiny. My lips are ruby red. I never want this to end…
Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump. “Mommy, I cold. I wanna eat something. I wanna change.” These were the words of my 3 year old this morning…at 5:25 am!! A whole hour before my alarm was supposed to go off! And poof…there went the dream. I jumped out of bed and started walking with my eyes closed. Sensing my clumsiness, he held my fingers with his little hand and guided me to his room…at which point I was really debating a detour to the bathroom given my sense of urgency! But he’s one of the loves of my life, trusts me implicitly, loves me unconditionally, and I would never let him down. So on I went.
This was a morning like every other – preceded by a typical Wednesday night (Survivor night!) Tired mom, comes home from work, rushes to get kids fed and ready for swimming classes. Then back home, bathe them, feed them again (I swear they are machines), read one a bedtime story and then the other, then run downstairs for some QT with my cutie! Forget that I haven’t had dinner – a handful of almonds, the rest of that half-eaten Aero bar and some fruit gummies will suffice.
In any case, after my “rude awakening” this morning, I was treated with the gift of walking to the subway by myself and the luxury of buying a latte before hopping on the train – no kids to take to school, no bags to pack and no lunches to make! Had I won the lottery??? Yes sir!
And there I was, latte in hand, watching Twilight: Breaking Dawn on my iPhone (for the fourth or fifth time) when suddenly I started to feel like I lost my breath. My head started to get very, very warm – my body actually felt like it was on fire. I put my hand on my chest and it felt very cold and clammy. My legs felt like they couldn’t support me – I felt dizzy – I couldn’t think – what was I going to do? With what strength I could muster, I squeezed my way off the extremely overcrowded train and as I was walking, I started to feel tingles and like my surroundings were just fading away…
Luckily I made it to a bench and put my head between my knees. And the next thing I remember was being so grateful for the humanity of the two women on either side of me. There I was, a complete stranger (albeit well dressed in my cute little summer dress, faux snake skin ballet flats, and gold hoop earrings) looking ready to be sick or pass out; perhaps a great inconvenience or a complete lunatic. And in my most vulnerable state, these two women didn’t appear at all worried about who I was or what I might do to them. They didn’t think about whether or not they knew me, trusted me or whether they could get something from me. They just wanted to help. They just wanted to make sure I was ok.
All I could think of while I tried to regroup and pull myself together to get back on the train was how I could repay their kindness…and how I regret not asking for their names.
It’s times like these that really make me feel grateful. That help me to forget about all the craziness in our world today: from pressure cooker bombs, to injustices, and perpetual inequality. It also helps me to forget about the little things – if only I was 7 pounds lighter, if only my butt/arms/legs/stomach were more toned, if only I didn’t have soooo many greys (I do a good job of hiding this fact…most days). And it makes me feel connected outside of my immediate circle. It makes me feel like we’re all part of one big whole – which although has some ugly bits, is full of greatness too.
Whoever you were, the girl in the cute summer dress with the faux snakeskin ballet flats and gold hoops that almost fainted at the Bloor Street subway stop thanks you. Thank you for the reminder. I know that because of your kindness, your humanity, I was able to have a moment of weakness in a safe environment. And thanks to you, tonight, when I put my head down after a long day at work and after chasing my two boys around, I can continue my dream at the masquerade ball, unscathed.