We should treat everyone with kindness-- as if they were pregnant.

It seems the bigger my stomach grows and the more I waddle, people are increasingly generous with kind words and actions toward me.  To be completely honest, I accept each one fully because not only am I on modified bed rest (no lifting little miss toddler who is throwing a tantrum), but I also have hit what I think is a third-trimester wall. I don’t remember feeling this way with Cooper, but with baby boy, I am nauseous, tired and not feeling like my energetic self.

While returning home to Southern California, I started thinking: Is it my visual appearance that beacons constant kind deeds my way all day? I have been overwhelmed by the acts of kindness not only from my own mother, but other mothers, from women and men I know as well as from complete strangers. I have felt more connected to people as they serve me. Oftentimes people share relatable moments from their own lives or talk about their pregnant daughter with a little one.

Looking around the airport, I started wondering how many individuals waiting to board the plane also deserve this sort of kindness. Possibly, they might be feeling worse physically or mentally than I, but they disguise their pain behind forced smiles. My conclusion:

We should treat everyone with kindness-- as if they were pregnant.

The airport offers multiple ways to show kindness. At first I felt unable to give back to others with my limited capabilities, but an opportunity presented itself while I waited for my stroller to make it through the TSA security line. Anyone who has ever experienced TSA lines can relate. You have a wild child out of his stroller. You try to pick up all your bags, put your shoes back on, etc. And for some reason, it takes a ridiculous amount of time to get the stroller through--I am talking 10 minutes.

After patiently waiting for my stroller--which finally arrived within the normal 10 minute wait, I watched my mom chase Cooper around the terminal. Suddenly, I noticed a mom in desperate need of some kindness. She had a one-month-old baby boy strapped to her chest and an unhappy 13-month-old daughter squirming out of her loose grip by her hip. She was attempting to gather her luggage on the belt while holding on to both kids all by herself. Earlier in the security line, I had seen both kids, happy and content in their double stroller. I knew the 10 minute wait with two kids would seem an eternity. So here I stood, watching with my empty stroller. Knowing I was unable to actually hold her daughter due to my limitations, I quickly offered my empty stroller. She jumped at the opportunity to set down her unhappy wiggle worm. We sat down together. Her daughter, now happy, waited for her stroller to do the transfer. After a small pep talk wishing each other good luck on the plane and a gracious thank-you, we departed ways.

When the world seems filled to the brim with negativity, we must slow down enough to notice the acts of kindness displayed in little and big ways. Gratitude is the antidote to self-absorption, and kindness can only flourish in a world with hope and love.

Here is how others have served me over the last couple days:

-My mom decided to fly back down to Southern California with me to help with Cooper while I await my next appointment. All day long she gives and gives as she takes care of me by taking care of Cooper.

-Women distracting Cooper during the plane ride by waving and playing peek-a-boo.

-Flight attendant giving extra cookies for baby girl.

-Trader Joe’s employee offering to carry out my groceries to the car.

-My mother-in-law building a beautiful garden in our backyard.

- My husband getting up early to play with Coops while I sleep in.

-My other mother-in-law editing all my email drafts to be sent to mommy bloggers.

-My sister offering to babysit Cooper while I work.

Too many to list. I have witnessed people giving random compliments to each other at Starbucks. I have watched people letting others cut in line at the grocery store when they have fewer items. It is a beautiful sight when, despite all the tensions brewing over political and religious differences, KINDNESS wins. In every place I have traveled, people can be seen extending kindnesses to each other. In the bush of Kenya, in the mountains of Nepal, in the hills of New Zealand, kindness is what bonds us together.

I was grateful for the timing of this #bebetter52 challenge.