Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The kindness of strangers (or, the day I nearly lost my mind)

Enduring Ottawa winters without a vehicle isn't exactly easy. But most mornings, I manage to suck it up and endure the 20-minute walk to baby's daycare (and from there, just 20 minutes more to the office). 

However, the last few weeks of bone-chilling temperatures, mounds of heavy, wet snow and seemingly relentless freezing rain have really tested my patience (and blood pressure).

Last Friday morning was especially rough. Most of my walking route to baby's daycare is unplowed. Getting there was a stressful, strenuous walk from hell. 

To top it off, just as I arrived, I discovered that trudging through all the winter muck led to a wheel snapping off my stroller. By the time I discovered it, I was left with half a wheel in my hand, three on the stroller. 

Already sweating, exhausted and furious from my walk, I dragged the stroller backwards for the rest of the way and dropped her off as usual. 

When I picked her up that evening, I really had no idea how the trip home would play out.
The sidewalk/road conditions really hadn't changed, but still, I attempted to make my way home with only three wheels, which was a huge mistake.

I'd barely gotten out of my sitter's driveway before my stroller got completely stuck in the snow. Twisting and turning and struggling and nearly in tears, I was ready to throw myself into the snow in utter despair when a car stopped beside me, and a woman flew out and over to me, insisting that she and her husband drive us home.

I declined politely several times, but she would have none of it. She was a mother too, she said. I didn't want to impose, and told her so repeatedly. But she persisted, and, cold and weary, my pride flew out the window. 

So I grabbed baby and we climbed into the back of the car, while she and her husband folded my stroller and loaded our gear. In about seven minutes, we were home — safe, sound, warm and dry. 

Life as a newly single parent is hard. The simplest of daily tasks can often be exponentially difficult. Add miserable weather conditions to the mix, and well — I thought I was definitely going to lose it that day. But the simple kindness of two strangers made all the difference in the world.

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