Yesterday I brought the girls by a coffee shop to kill some time before the end of the workday. I chose some snacks for Ingrid and me—a fruit leather, a banana, a cookie (guess who got the sugary one)— and ordered a cup of coffee. I had Iris in one arm, the diaper bag over my shoulder, and Ingrid wound around my legs.
I turned around to notice that the guy behind me was someone I sort of know—a friend of a friend of A’s. He’s a physician and lives somewhere sort of nearby, and we had a little chat about the neighborhood as I waited for my drink.
As the barista set my cup on the counter, the guy sprang into solicitous mode: Looks like you’re going to need some help getting all this to your table! and picked up the snacks and cup to carry for me.
It was nice of him to offer the help, and I accepted it gratefully, if a little awkwardly. (If I didn’t have to carry all that stuff, what would I do with my free hand and the extra three fingers on the hand holding Iris?)
But it made me realize how accustomed we parents are to doing the impossible, and how invisible (to us, I mean) our amazing feats can be. This guy, a doctor, thought it obvious I wouldn’t be able to get myself to the table, but it hadn’t even crossed my mind that this was anything more than a routine trip across a room. Carrying snacks, coffee and baby? No sweat, Dr. Helpful. Try getting them dressed to play in the snow. Try getting them both to sleep at once. Come over and help me carry laundry around the house any day of the week and gasp with awe as I tote laundry basket and baby down the basement stairs at once.
What do you do every day that your average childless doctor, physicist, sky diver, or literary hero would believe to be impossible?