Vivi is officially a horrible flier. I gave her a pass on horrible flights one and two, but flights three, four and six were all equally as terrible. Notice how I left the fifth flight out? Yeah, that’s because horrible isn’t an adequate enough adjective for how bad our flight from Salt Lake to Chicago was last night. You guys, she SCREAMED the entire flight. And not just gentle complaints, but backwards head throwing screaming at the top of her lungs so loud people probably thought I was smuggling razor blades in her intestines.

She’s getting her top molars which has to have contributed to the misery but YOU GUYS. I did my best. Oh my gosh I did my best.

Once we got off the plane I realized because of delays in Salt Lake I didn’t have 40 minutes between flights, I had 4.

The thought of immediately getting on another plane with Vivi sent me into sobbing fits. I was all alone. I had at least another hour on a plane with her. I haven’t cried that hard in a long time.

I’m not even sure I’ve cried that hard in public, ever.

Despite dozens, if not hundreds of people seeing me crying while pushing a stroller through the terminal, no one said anything. One flight attendant on my flight was gracious enough to ask if I was okay, take my bags and get me some water.

When someone is visibly sobbing it’s not like someone who may or may not be pregnant, something is clearly going on. You say something, you do something. You don’t just look the other way because emotions make you uncomfortable. I have sat with many people in many different places who have been crying. With a mom who lost her son in Disneyworld, another woman who was having a panic attack in the Chicago Children’s Museum, one woman who was simply having a hard time at Blissdom and I hugged another mom when she got a call that her son was being rushed to the ER for a severe cut on his finger.

If you’re having a hard time? I hug.

I’m a hugger.

Even if you’re a stranger.

I’m also a hand holder or shoulder patter.

Someone once told me that it had been months since they had had any physical contact with another human. We’re not even talking physical bow chicka contact, we’re talking a hug or a hand hold. This wasn’t a smelly mean person either, this was a normal well adjusted human whom I like a lot. Just because someone is of a certain age, has a partner, kids or still lives at home doesn’t mean they get the physical interaction we all need as humans. Hugs can change lives. Hand squeezes can brighten dire situations.

I’m not saying you should make out with strangers or hug crying women in the airport for an awkward amount of time…but you guys. We’re all in this together, so why did I go through a panic attack in a very public place alone last night?

What stops you from helping people or reaching out?

(I should mention that when it comes to people asking for money, I’m more than happy to buy them food or a cup of coffee, or offer them food or bottled water I keep in my car.  (Literally, beggars can’t be choosers right?) I have been told “I don’t want food, I want a dollar.” more than I have been taken up on my offer to buy/give food. Well then. Responses like this keep a tiny little cynic alive inside me.)

Comments

  1. *sigh*

    this makes me so sad and sort of weepy. I mean who doesn’t ask if a woman sobbing in the airport is okay? I remember when Giggles was about 18 months old and I just put the husband on a plane to go to some school the Navy was sending him to and I had no idea when we were going to see him again and I broke down on the way back to the car & I couldn’t stop sobbing and then I started to have a panic attack because I couldn’t remember where we parked the car. I wandered around that parking garage for the longest time and finally a security guard in his golf cart stopped me and asked if I was okay and after he realized that my car wasn’t stolen we drove all over until we found it. I will never forget how nice that man was.

    I will be giving you the biggest hug when I see you next week-but then again I always get the biggest hug from you when I see you! xo

    Casey Reply:

    @domestic extraordinaire, Good news always comes in golf carts.

  2. Amy in StL says:

    Okay, please everyone don’t shoot me; I’m just being honest.

    I’m not a hugger; being hugged by a non family member makes me uncomfortable so I never offer to give someone else a hug. I don’t like when waitresses touch me when taking my order and I don’t like when I’m talking to someone and they’re concerned so they touch my arm. Please, don’t touch me.

    Also, I don’t have children. When they’ve been foisted on me at picnics, dinners, parties (people think I have ovaries so I want to hold the child I guess) I almost always make them cry. I don’t mean to; but I guess they know I’m uncomfortable holding them and it scares them. I never know how to hold them and I’m kind of gunshy at this point. So I don’t offer to hold or talk to the baby. Honestly – I know I’m not the only non-mom that feels this way – a crying baby is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I just want to get away; just yesterday I left a department at Macy’s because of a child.

    Every time I’ve offered to help a mom with something, carrying a bag, carrying a plate at Panera; I’m always given the death look and told they’ve got it. I’m not a mom so I don’t know when someone needs help or doesn’t, I guess. I don’t really offer to help much anymore; because I’m tired of the ungratefulness.

    I’m guessing you looked like you were in a hurry, so if I’d seen you I would have thought that delaying your travel would have upset you more. That being said, if you were waiting at the gate; I probably would have asked if everything was ok. I don’t carry tissues or candy, I wouldn’t have hugged you or offered to take Vivi. I’m sure your readers think this makes me a bad person; but I probably wouldn’t have stopped you either.

    Robby Slaughter Reply:

    @Amy in StL I know how you feel.

    Now, imagine that you are a man, and you can see how this is even worse.

    Casey Reply:

    @Amy in StL, No judgement from me. I never liked kids until I had my own and even now I am very picky about which kids I love on, hold and am okay with.
    I’ve been burned as well but something inside me keeps fighting for the better good of society.
    I believe a lot of it is situational, the truth is I was collapsed against a wall in no hurry at all. Just a wreck.
    I think you’ll know when you can help and when it’s out of your realm of comfort or abilities.

  3. I’m sorry you had to go through it & if I had been there, know I would have given you a hug.

    Unfortunately, that only goes if I saw YOU personally, or someone else I knew.

    I think society makes us feel weird about physical affection, uncomfortable to ask for or offer help.

    I am a hugger, and my friends call me “Mom”, so you can understand how much I love to take care of people.

    I wish it was an open door for everyone to accept.

    xoxo

    Casey Reply:

    @Julia, There has to be some neutral ground, some universal sign of “I need help” or “This is what I can offer.”

    Julia Reply:

    @Casey, Yes – I think that is a great idea! :)

  4. Oh, I want to cry with you right now. I would definitely be at that person’s side, seeing if there was anything I could do to make it easier. And if that meant sitting there and holding a hand and crying with them, I would in a heartbeat.

    Steph

    Casey Reply:

    @Stephanie Precourt, Of course you would! And knowing there are lovely people like you out there make this world a much less scary place for me.

  5. ellie d says:

    this is such an inspiring post. i’m so, so sorry you had to go through this, but it is such a wonderful reminder to reach out just a little further than what’s in our natural comfort zone. <3

    Casey Reply:

    @ellie d, Oh yes. Thank you so much.

  6. This is such a good reminder. I’m so sorry you had to go through that alone, but I’m so glad you wrote about it. I’m now thinking again about how important it is to have outward eyes, rather than always thinking about myself. How can I help? How can I encourage?

    Casey Reply:

    @Rebekah, Yes. YES! I feel so Oprah-ish right now.

  7. I’m always shocked when this happens to me.

    i can remember dropping my groceries and people just walking by, stepping over them. No one stopping to help.

    Unbelievable.

    Casey Reply:

    @Alexandra, WHA? Cody gets mad at me that I go out of my way to help people at very inopportune times (for him at least, there’s never a wrong time to help people!)

  8. I have read through a lot of the comments and I have not seen anyone with a perspective similar to mine. So anyhow, here is my similar tale but different response.

    I was at a restaurant with my family for my mom’s 60th birthday. My little one (19 months) was not feeling the best- she had an ear infection and a rash, and was being as cranky as you would probably expect given the circumstances. (She had been cleared by the doctor though to attend.)

    Well, we had a back room in the restaurant all to ourselves so I let Sunny get out of her high chair to run around a bit. Well, she ran smack into a corner of one of the tables. She was screaming, and the stress of the day made me burst into tears too. The only thing I wanted to do was get away from EVERYONE with my baby. We hightailed it out of the restaurant where we both could calm down. I would not have wanted any one of the people that saw me on the way out to say a word (and for the record, nobody did). Maybe it is just my personality. But because of it, I would have to seriously consider whether or not to approach a stranger that was crying. Would that person want me to do so, or would that person prefer to be left alone? Would I be able to help?

    Anyhow, just thought I would point out my take. For the record though, I am sorry you had such a miserable experience. We just went on an international trip, and I too was dreading the LONG flights. For us though, it turned out much better than I had anticipated.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kim Q, I have had issues in restaurants as well, but the thing about a restaurant is I have a way out. I can go home, I can go back to a hotel, I can take a cab, I can take my car, I know someone else who is at the restaurant, I can call a friend.
    In the airport I’m alone, I’m hundreds of miles from home with no way of getting there quicker, surrounded by strangers and unable to get a hold of anyone with all the rules about phones and flying.
    I think everyone knows what they are capable of, what they’re comfortable with and what they’re willing to do when confronted with someone in a difficult situation.

  9. Nichole says:

    I would have stopped. I would have offered to help you. I would have done something. I’m sorry no one did.

    Casey Reply:

    @Nichole, Thank you.

  10. I’m so sorry you and Vivi had such a hard time and even more sorry that no one offered you a sympathetic ear or shoulder. I’d like to think that I would have.

    Casey Reply:

    @KDA, Thank you, and I’m sure you would have.

  11. I am, admittedly, not a hugger. But I WILL stop if I see a mom sobbing like that to see if she needs help. And I will put my hand on her shoulder or arm.

    However, my non-hugging status has been deeply affected by your hugs. You give some of the best hugs I have ever had.

    Don’t tell Cortney.

  12. I would have gone up and offered you chocolate or an airport muffin or something and asked you if there was anything else I could do. I’m so sorry… :(

  13. Oh, your cried out eyes in this picture just break my heart. I am so sorry you had this experience. Sadly, I think a lot of people don’t stop because they don’t know what to do or are scared their approach would be unwelcome. I would have stopped and hugged and helped. I have been that crying woman with a baby, although not at an airport. How sad is it to be surrounded by people and feel so lonely.

    Wafa Reply:

    @Sandra, I have broken down in public a couple of times, & those times I just wanted to disappear. I hoped & prayed no-one would see me, & that if they did they would ignore me. If someone had approached me I would have asked them to leave me alone. So from my perspective, ignoring a crying stranger = doing her a courtesy, i.e. doing unto her as I would want done unto me. If you need help just ask; most people will be glad to assist. They don’t offer because they don’t know what you need.

  14. I literally started crying when I read about your experience flying alone with your babe. I can’t believe no one reached out to you. I have been on a plane with a screaming baby and I just wish as a fellow passenger that there was ANYTHING I could do! I’m so sorry you had to go through that alone! She sure is cute though!

  15. If I’m in an airport, chances are I’m dealing with my own airport related issues. I figure, if someone is being attacked or having a heart attack I’ll try to help, but if I stopped to help everyone with emotional problems I would be stuck in the airport for the rest of my life. Personally, if for any reason I did break down in a public place, I would just want people to leave me alone. I don’t want sympathy hugs or pats. I just want people to go on about their business without bothering me.

    Everyone is different. If I don’t offer random strangers a shoulder to cry on, it’s because I wouldn’t want to cry on a strangers shoulder myself.

  16. I’m a hugger. But I also panic, and know that that physical touch can make such a difference in the chemical chaos going on inside of me. 2 weeks ago I had the worst panic attack of my life, and had to have a new friend calm me down. When she tried to hug me, I pushed her away, though. She’s not a hugger. It didn’t make sense. I needed help, but not a hug. Anyway, I think generally people don’t hug, don’t help because they are scared to get involved. Scared of the consequences. Scared they will make it worse. It’s not right, but it’s the broken human condition (i’m learning).

  17. Jamye Jack says:

    First of all, I am so sorry that you had that experience. Crying/breaking down in public is an experience in and of itself, but then doing it alone, and nobody seems to care??? It makes it that much worse. After 3 years of trying to get pregnant, I finally got pregnant only to miscarry at 8.5 weeks in a Target bathroom. I was sobbing hysterically and I could hear women coming into the bathroom only to hear them leave immediately because of some “crazy woman” crying in the stall. A few who were in there already, left quickly. As I was washing my hands (still a blubbering mess) women walked by me as if I was invisible. The experience was horrific enough and then to feel like human kind was “too uncomfortable” to reach out made it that much worse. It did make me reevaluate how I am when I see people in need/hurting/lost etc. I hope the next time I see somebody like us in public, it makes me respond differently.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] have the chance to know their story as well. Speaking of stories, last week I was all “AH! PANIC ATTACK ALONE IN THE AIRPORT!” and so many of you were all “AAH! I’VE GONE THROUGH HORRIBLE STUFF ALONE IN [...]

  2. [...] situation could have been a little better, but it also could have been A LOT worse. I could have had Vivi with me. I could have been alone. I could have been in a crummy city where I didn’t know anyone, I could [...]