I was sitting on the patio at Starbuck’s the other day passing time before I met a friend for lunch. I had a book with me and was trying to read it but, to tell the truth, my mood was down and I felt distracted from reading by my inner melancholy. As usual, I ran through the gamut of self-recriminations: “You shouldn’t be feeling this way.” “Everything is fine, just stop it.” “You get gloomy too often for no good reason.”
Finally, I caught myself, took a breath to let go of the negative thoughts, and went back to my book and mocha. A flash of pink caught my eye as the patio door opened in front of my table. A young woman came out with her coffee in one hand, a diaper bag in the other, and a tiny baby girl in a pink onesie carried by a frontpack on the young woman’s chest.
“Do you mind if I sit here?” the young woman asked an older man sitting by himself at a table. “Go ahead,” he nodded. She sat down to my right across an aisle. I looked over.
I couldn’t help but smile. The baby was so tiny, perhaps just a few weeks old. Her little head had wobbled gently from side to side in time with mom’s steps. Her eyes opened wide as she tried to focus on the objects surrounding her. “Cute,” I thought, going back to my book.
After reading a few pages, I became aware that the young woman and older man were starting to converse. First in short sentences with long gaps between them and then the conversation slowly picked up. They were talking about the baby, of course. The man alternated between speaking gently to the baby and chatting with the young woman about how babies are at that age. She glowed and bounced the baby gently as he cooed to the child, then eagerly shared her experience of being a mother for the last few weeks.
I realized how much I was enjoying eavesdropping on their interaction. The tiny baby, so full of life and potential. The two adults, strangers, but effortlessly connecting through the shared experience of parenting. I always love watching the magic of these moments unfold.
I became aware of something else: my gloominess was gone. I had stayed present in the moment and my perspective had changed; my blue mood erased by a flash of pink and the choice to indulge in a special encounter between strangers.