At the tail end of my long drive home from ballet yesterday, I sat at a red light staring out my window at a woman holding a sign. It's not an uncommon sight here in Atlanta, even in the pretty far out suburbs where I live. What was different about her however was that along with her sign, and her flyers, she pushed a little girl in a wheelchair with her.
From what I could read from her sign, her daughter had a life threatening illness and she was raising money for treatment.
She rolled her up and down the median strip, collecting money and handing out flyers like she was at the finest charity fundraiser. Her head held high, her daughter kicking and smiling in her chair, though obviously impaired.
It instantly brought me to tears, this mother doing what I would consider a fairly desperate act to save her daughter. There's always a brief, fleeting thought of skepticism that runs through my mind -- if she's really sick, or what circumstances brought her to that place that might have been in her control or if there isn't a better way (I tend to loathe the folks who do fundraising at stoplights mainly because it's usually kids and I think it's terribly dangerous).
But mostly, I think about how I hope to never be at that place.
It's the only thing that I can think to do to soothe her pain, their pain, and the pain of others close to me.
Because regardless of how different we all are as people, the common bond of motherhood makes any mother's desperation just as much ours.