10 Dec 2013

Why you should be kind to the mom on your flight

We’re currently en route to South Africa via Germany. We’ve had a 10 hour layover and very little sleep on the plane. This is our right now. And it reminded me of this post and that maybe we all need the reminder over this holiday season, eh?


When I board the plane and see her and the toddler in my row the first thing I think is, “Thank goodness I wasn’t rude or irritable when I saw them earlier in the restroom.” Because we will be close companions now for the next hour and a half.

She’s juggling all those adorable baby rolls and bags of toys and tricks to keep him occupied when I slide into the seat next to them. I can feel she’s nervous and I’m so happy to be able to smile when he throws a toy at my leg and say, “It’s OK; I have three.”

Three. How did this happen? How did I become the mother of three children? I always find it the most remarkable when I’m not with them. When I’m seeing that number through someone else’s eyes. She smiles relief and I know we’re partners now for the next 90 minutes hovering over the wide open spaces between DC and Chicago.

She is patient and keeps up a running, quiet narrative to keep him distracted. She rocks him with her whole self and the plane rocks them both.

It’s a wonder this art of wrapping oneself around a tiny human being to give them food, comfort, warmth, security.

The sun beats unrelenting against the closed shutters and the small baby beats big fists at the back of the chair and wails the frustration of the bored, tired.

She entertains. She laughs. She tickles. We feed him snacks and each other encouragement because this is the way of mothers everywhere. We know. We know on that deep, been up since 2am feeling, what it’s like to hold teething babes and rock colicky infants and still break into wide smiles when they grin all goofy gums at us.

We know the rock and the rhyme and the rhythm of this strange dance that is parenthood.

We rock and roll babes in the crook of tired arms on crowded airplanes because it’s our calling and our gift. Yes, gift. The hard and the sleepless and the sometimes almost excruciating joy – it is all a gift that if we don’t pause and appreciate will slip through our fingers like so many loads of laundry lost in the swirling, whirly gig of repetitive busy that can weigh a mother down.

But when I sit in that plane in that seat next to a young mom and her one-year-old I can’t help but admire her at work. Because this is her work and her vocation and to see her in action is to appreciate the God that designed this living parable of why He would willingly sacrifice His whole self for us. There it is– the choice to give comfort, to feed, to nurture even when the recipient is unwilling and unappreciative.

And when he passes out, sweaty head curled into her shoulder, I wonder if any of the other passengers realize what went on here in row 18. If they know that this young mom is in the thick of her work day and what an artist she is when she brings all her patience and love to bear on a baby oblivious to the effort it costs.

I silently, inwardly applaud her.

Surely there is a standing ovation somewhere – if not in the aisles of this plane – then out there in the heavens that we’re passing through.


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Bless you all on your journey. I’ve wondered at the Providence that got your tickets way back when as the news says all flights to SA are full. I’m glad that you have taken already flight as the snow and ice descend on us here and ground planes. Thanks for taking us with you through your words and pictures. Enjoy it all (even the 10 hour layovers).

  2. 2

    Lisa-Jo, this is beautiful! I’m long past the baby days and approaching GRAND-parenthood with anticipation. I can’t wait to be on the “relief” team and an intimate observer of this artistry happening all over again. Thank you for reminding us of the mystery and awe of a mother. Blessings on your trip!

  3. 3

    Thank you, Lisa Jo! That was beautiful.

  4. 4

    That was such a sweet read! We got to experience this a couple weeks ago on our plane trips when we met family with kids younger than ours on the way out having a rough time. We got to smile and share toys and reassure them. Then, my heart exploded when we boarded the plane home a week later and I looked up to see their faces again. Crazy orchestration by the Lord, and crazy that we were the ones offering the knowing words and prayers! We know there will definitely be other times we need the receiving end! I hope you guys have such a fun trip!

  5. 5

    Thank you for not only encouraging moms with so much grace and truth, and pointing us to God, but also for writing so beautifully and tangibly. Every post is a heart-felt gift. God bless you!

  6. 6

    I’m so glad that mother got to sit by you. A gentle mother I saw on an overseas flight when I was 18 shapes my parenting today, 25 years later. I wrote about it here: http://mywordseed.blogspot.com/2013/05/random-mom-moment.html

  7. 7

    Praying for your trip home! May it be all that you need it to be, and may God in His Graciousness give you just a bit more :-)

  8. 8

    loved it. It is so hard when you have a wailing baby and you hear people muttering, ‘Why does she bring her kid along?’ ‘If she can’t keep her kid quiet, she shouldn’t bring him/her along.’ Thankfully we haven’t had to travel by plane with all 4 young (6, 4, 3, 23m) kids yet–that would be an adventure in itself!

  9. 9

    Prayers for a safe journey and wonderful holiday spent with your family. That picture of your sweet hub and kids passed out on benches/floor at the airport stole my heart. Hope your layovers are behind you and that you will soon be experiencing hugs and kisses at the final airport of the journey. Love the story of you sitting next to the other mom- all so true- and I wish every traveller had the kind of empathy we have learned by experience.

    Thank you for your blog. I love reading about your experiences which reflect so many of ours.

  10. 10

    May we all show patience, remembering when it was our child. May we all be kind, because at one time, it was probably us with our own mother. Beautifully written my African lioness friend.

  11. 11

    You know, some people, just by their very presence, bring such peace to others. I have to imagine that you’re one of them! What a gift to that sweet momma you must have been.

  12. 12

    Beautiful. Thank you!

  13. 13
    giuliana sani says:

    thanks a lot dear Lisa!this is real living poetry!moments to offer to our mighty God as a gift to thank him for who He is!.enjoy ur vacation with ur whole family.i wish i could fly to Southafrica also,which i love so much|:Giuly,from Italy

  14. 14

    NSA and JNLWD are partnering with Virginia State Police and
    local police implanting people with biochips.
    Read “A Note on Uberveillance” by M. D. Michael. Newport News
    Police and Virginia State Police had a doctor implant me w/o my knowledge and
    consent with a biochip. A U. S. Attorney for the NSA/DOJ pretended to be my
    attorney. It enables torture and thought
    monitoring. They use it as a sensor and pulse energy projectiles at you. I had
    a heart attack. It enables voice to skull communication. See LRAD white papers
    or audio spotlight by Holosonics. Law
    enforcement believes we will only be safe if they know where we are at all
    times, what we are doing and what we are thinking! See Safeguards in a World of
    Ambient Intelligence by Springer page 9. See Mental Health and Terrorism by
    Amin Gadit. The U. S. has new weapons that mimic mental health symptoms. See
    Bio Initiative Report 2012. See Forbes and search Brandon Raub. Law enforcement
    tases citizens into “excited delirium” (see at nij org) to make them
    act in ways they normally would not. I believe they are directly responsible
    for the Virginia Tech massacre. There are 3 reasons to have it implanted 1)
    mental health, 2) criminal record, and 3) infectious disease. If you don’t meet
    any of those requirements like me, they’ll falsify your records. All the mass
    shootings are the work of law enforcement. They want to take away your right to
    bear arms and make America a police state. People aren’t suddenly going
    crazy, they’re being tortured. I also believe the biochip to be responsible
    for PTSD. Read Brian Castner’s book
    “A Long Walk”. I have the same
    ambiguous pains, twitches, heart attack, night mares, day mares, gurgling,
    etc. I never served in the war. What do
    we have in common? The biochip. Suicide is one way to get relief. Virginia’s suicide rate is higher than the
    national average and the military suicide rate is unacceptable! You can check
    your upper right buttock, upper right shoulder.
    They are just under the skin. The torture has been ongoing for almost six years now. I caught a Virginia State Trooper and a Hampton Uniformed Officer exit my home with a key. They have caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage to my home and stolen tens of thousands of dollars of my personal property to include computers, software, jewelry, cash, power tools, digital camera, and they even took my medications for blood pressure. I got the state trooper’s license plate number. The Newport News Police do nothing. I am in great pain and need help. Please pray for me.

  15. 15

    How kind. Maybe she found her way to your blog and saw that you took notice.

  16. 16

    What a sweet, sweet article. When my son was 2 weeks old, we flew down to Little Rock so he could meet my dad, who was dying from cancer. We were already emotional, and bringing a newborn on a plane adds to that, and people were wonderful. My husband had to come home before I did, so I flew back with the baby by myself, and I was loaded down with stuff, and sad from having said what was probably goodbye to my father (it was), and people couldn’t have been nicer. They carried things for me, they smiled when he cried, they complimented him, and they gave me life when I felt depleted. You never know what people are going through, and nice is always the best choice.

  17. 17

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  1. […] Why you should be kind to the mom on your flight @ Lisa-Jo Baker […]

  2. […] but I saw this post by Lisa Jo Baker, the person who started FMF, that touched me. It was called “Why You Should Be Kind to the Mom On Your Flight”, and it was a call not to roll your eyes in the disgust at the lady who gets on your long plane […]

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