Heaphy’s hours-long journey with her children was waylaid by a lengthy delay at the ferry terminal. By 2 a.m., she was trying in vain to find a spot on the floor for a moment’s rest. But her children, fidgety after hours confined to the car, were crawling all over her.
That’s when a stranger noticed Heaphy’s exhaustion and started collecting her kids’ scattered toys from the floor, without being asked. Next, she brought Heaphy water from the dispenser, without knowing how long it had been since her last meal or drink.
Then, the thoughtful stranger asked if she could help comfort the children.
Heaphy said: “[It was] a completely refreshing approach taken by someone I didn’t expect, asking if she could help me by trying to get my fussy eight-month-old baby to sleep so I could have a much needed break, or nap, or in her words, ‘anything I needed.'”
“I needed her more than she will ever know that night,” Heaphy added. “And it was more than the physical help our situation screamed for. It was about feeling seen.”
Beyond struggling as a mom, Heaphy simply felt like “a person who needed a hand” that night. Moved, she snapped a tender photo of her baby being cradled by the kind stranger who understood a mother’s needs, and shared it online.
Heaphy said that her baby son, who usually only relaxes in his mother’s arms, slept soundly for half an hour.
“I did nothing other than watch them in front of me in peace, eyes open but arms resting,” Heaphy wrote. “She was a stranger, but she was the silver lining that night.
“She was the stranger that saw me.”
The mom of two eventually headed home with nothing but a name and a photo, but the memory left a lasting impression. She hopes that others choose to reach out, too, as even the smallest act of kindness could make an exhausted mother’s day.
Heaphy is the author of a book, “Dear Motherhood,” a collection of poetry and prose dedicated to the key stages of each woman’s early motherhood journey.