We were ice skating, which is a wonder to behold in itself. We are a cluster of dreams and fantasies. The rink we go to is outdoors and under twinkly white lights, which is pretty much all I need in life. If there are twinkly white lights, I’m having all of it.

I skated over to the bench to watch for a while, and that’s when I saw the stroller parked next to the rink. A busy mom of many had parked her baby to watch the happenings on the ice while she helped her older kids navigate balancing on blades. But the baby inside the stroller, maybe a year old, was leaning forward and crying, reaching for her blanket that was on that ground in front of her.

Oh, sweet little one, I thought. This problem is easily solved. I can help you – and your mom, who just needs more hands.

So I went over to get her blanket off the ground, and that’s when I realized that she wasn’t reaching forward – she was folded forward. Apparently in her leaning, she had counteracted the weight from the diaper bag hanging on the back of the stroller, and the whole thing had folded up and nearly swallowed her whole. She was folded in half with the weight of the stroller on top of her.

And that’s when I sprang into action. I lifted the heavy diaper bag off of her back, muscled that unwieldy stroller open again, helped her sit up, and got her soft little blanket off the ground. I rubbed her back and looked for the woman on the ice who might notice a stranger paying oddly close attention to her baby.

She noticed. We all do, eventually. She came skating over, and that’s when I realized she was with four older children who didn’t know how to skate, and she didn’t speak English. Sister had her hands full.

I had no judgement. I’ve been there, mostly done that, and at least noticed that someone was helping one of my children while I was helping another. Moms just can’t be everywhere, and judgement doesn’t help. We’re all just trying to get through the day.

When I joined Tyler on the ice, he said, “That’s what I call your Ultra-Mom Mode. It’s like Beast Mode, the Mom Version. You just spring into action to help the kid, no matter whose kid it is. Like when we were on a bike ride and you stopped to help the kid who fell down. Ultra-Mom Mode.”

It’s nothing, really. And it’s kind of everything, really. It’s what all the good moms do.

If you belong to one of us, you belong to all of us.

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(In related news, I’m pretty sure Peter and I are going to take up ice dancing, by the way. It’ll either happen this week, or when we get to heaven. It’s hard to know for sure.  For now, we’re practicing in our socks in the dining room.  And we’re crushing it.)

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