A biscuit. Such a simple breakfast item, yet today it was so much more. A bacon biscuit allowed two very different moms to share a connection.
My five-year-old son is home sick today with a very high fever. He has been sick for over 36 hours now and the fever just won’t let up. I was going to leave him with my amazing parents again today, but my momma heart was just tugging at me to stay home with him. I was up with him most of the night so around 4 am I started making lesson plans and arranged for a substitute to teach my class today.
Of course I needed to drop the other two boys off and make sure copies and plans were ready on my desk at school, so I had to drag my sweet sick boy out as well. After everything was settled we started the 20 minute drive back home. Despite the fact that he hasn’t kept anything down in over 24 hours, he wanted to stop at a gas station for something to eat. Last year when he was in preschool, his Daddy would stop on the way to school if they needed gas and let him pick out a breakfast item. I knew this wasn’t a great idea, but I couldn’t say no to his precious little request.
Unfortunately, by the time we got to the gas station he had to rush inside to be sick again. As I ushered him back out to the car he again asked politely for a biscuit. I thought it was probably a waste of $2.50, but decided to let him pick something out anyway.
All my son wanted was a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit, but there were none. I asked the cashier and she said they no longer made bacon biscuits. They only had breakfast pizza, sausage biscuits, and bacon croissants, which he wasn’t interested in eating. In his true kind, understanding fashion he reassured me it was okay and he would just eat some Jello when he got home.
As we once again started out the door a sweet voice called out to us from the deli section of the gas station. The lady behind the counter said she noticed he wasn’t feeling well and would be happy to make him a special biscuit just the way he wanted it.
I thanked her for going out of the way to show us such kindness. She said although her kids were grown, she was a mom too and understood how hard it is when your kids are sick. As she loaded up a biscuit with extra bacon for my little bacon-lover, she reminisced about when her kids were small. She said that one time a year she would let each of them stay home from school to spend some special one-on-one time with her. I could tell she was taken back to a happier time as she talked about how they lived in Seattle and would usually take a little day trip to a fun location.
I told her how much I loved that idea and that I try to spend time with each of my three boys too. She shared with me that she had two daughters and a son. I felt her body tighten as she said those words. What she said next took me by surprise. This sweet woman stood there behind the gas station deli counter and shared with a total stranger that one of her daughters had died.
My reaction might have surprised her too. I didn’t say a word at first. As she looked up, our eyes met and I could tell she knew I understood. I asked what her daughter’s name was and then shared with her that I too have three sons that are no longer in my arms.
In that brief moment, we weren’t just strangers standing in a gas station making small talk. It was more. We were two moms separated by more than twenty years in age, obviously from very different walks of life, connecting over a bacon biscuit. We were moms who both carry the unimaginable pain of losing a child who were able to find comfort in a stranger’s story.
Neither of us were passing judgement of the other. She didn’t comment on the fact that my son was still in his pajamas. She didn’t seem to notice that I didn’t even bother to use make-up to cover up the tired bags under my eyes from a sleepless night. We stood there as two moms who were just doing their best on a Friday morning.
As I sit here watching my sick little guy rest on the couch, I can’t help but to be thankful for the biscuit that he only took one bite of. This story isn’t really about a biscuit at all. It’s about a random act of kindness and moms supporting other moms. The last 36 hours have been filled with worry, stress, and fatigue for me, but today the mess that is motherhood turned out to be pretty beautiful.