Traverse City Record-Eagle

Feature Columnists

February 23, 2014

Allison Batdorff: Kindness reinforces motherly resolve

The Lower Lip Tremble knows no mercy.

How ‘bout a pile driver? The ninja beating-heart-in-your-hand-trick? Anything, anything but the LLT.

Whack! My face hits the mat in a toddler smack-down. The sincerity slays me as my daughter’s eyes fill up, chubby arms reaching, one word escaping her quivering lips in a moaning, “Mama.”

Day care center drop off is not for the weak. You fake it. You strap a facade of bravery to your face like a Mexican wrestling mask. Muster a smile, give a peppy wave and walk away. Quickly. Without looking back. Otherwise the LLT becomes the beginning swirl of a torrential tearful temper tantrum, compounded by presence and inflated by maternal guilt.

We had a doozy of a LLT morning beginning my second week of work. Logically, I know it takes time to adjust. We’d just moved to a new place. I’d just returned to work full time. I was asking a lot of my just-turned three-year-old. But LLTs linger on an emotional level where logic holds no sway. I got to work with my mask on, but I wobbled beneath.

My first assignment that day — follow up on a potential human interest story. A downstate mom thanked “an unknown woman” on the Record-Eagle’s Facebook page for helping her son. It was a polar vortex morning. Schools were canceled and meteorologists told us to stay indoors else our delicate bits would rot and blacken. Her 21-year-old “baby’s” truck died on South Airport Road at dawn, in the dark.

The boy set out on the two-mile walk to Walmart for a new battery. A car drove by; he stuck out his thumb. It stopped. The woman at the wheel drove him to Walmart, waited for him to buy his battery and returned him to his truck. She took neither money, nor doughnut, telling the boy stopping was just something “people should do.”

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