She was in the drive-thru yesterday; using up the last of her Starbucks gift cards when she peered through the window of the cafe. There, sitting at a table farthest from her line of sight, was a red-haired woman staring blankly at the wall in front of her. Her hand was resting on her chin and she was lost in thought. Whatever she was thinking, it worried her and sadness clouded her eyes. It appeared the woman was no longer in the cafe but wherever her thoughts had doomed her to be.
On the opposite side of the table was her daughter – about a year old. She had her coat on and her hood (in the shape of a cute little owl) still up over her head. Once or twice the little girl’s tiny, pale hand reached in front of her and grabbed the snack the mom had laid out.
She felt uncomfortable watching the lady. She was intruding on her moment of anguish. Yet, she had the urge to park the car, sit at the table with the woman and listen. To help her shoulder the grief the woman bore, if even for a moment.
She didn’t see anyone else in the café that evening, so she felt certain no one else had witnessed this woman’s quiet moment of grief.
Then the mom’s daze was broken and she focused on her daughter. The sadness still wore on her face, but the mom placed her fingers in front of her and started walking them on their tips across the table to her daughter. The spider fingers crawled closer and closer. As soon as her daughter reached out to touch them, the woman quickly recoiled them to her side of the table.
From the confines of her car, she imagined the daughter let out some sort of amused squeal because the mom smiled ever so slightly. Her fingers crawled across the table again and quickly came back to her side when the daughter tried to reach out and touch her hand again. For a third time, the mom arched her fingers and started to make the same journey across the table but this time, the daughter had wised up. She, too, arched her fingers to look like her mom’s and started to move them across the table to meet her mother’s in the middle. The mom let out a huge laugh because her daughter’s response was so unexpected.
And that’s when she saw it: Mom’s cheeks flushed. Her eyes glistened and she looked at her daughter in such a loving and tender way. It was as if whatever the woman was thinking before had no power here. In this little moment, the woman was happy and that happiness couldn’t be touched by any negative emotion.
Before she moved her car forward, she had the opportunity to witness the mother and daughter chatting – smiling and engaged; the spell broken.
Author’s Note and Bio:
This is a true story that I witnessed firsthand. As I watched this moment unfold between the mother and daughter, I thought how wonderful it is to be touched by happiness in such an innocent way! I think it is truly wonderful that there are people around you that demonstrate this level of happiness; to be around them means that the darkness and sadness have no way to hold on.
If you can be with those people – do so. Call them, text them, talk to them, whisper your voice into the heavens. Surround yourself with them! There is a real power in that. A love that holds no bounds to your happiness.
Jenny Cracchiola is married with two sweet boys. She owns a child care in the St. Louis area and loves to read sci-fi or suspense novels. Her favorite author is Patricia Cornwell. When she’s not working (or reading) she enjoys adventuring and sleeping.