As an author, I am often asked where I find my inspiration. Nearly everything comes from my surroundings. Anything you say or do may end up in my next story.
Here’s a perfect example: I was in Bradley Airport, on my way to visit The Cherub in D.C., when a child’s distressed voice made me pause. I followed a frightened little girl seeking her father, scanning the area for an officer in case she was truly lost. Instead what I saw was within the sound of the child’s voice, various women interrupted what they were doing to find out what was going on; a random group of strangers bound by a common concern—the safety of someone else’s kid. Our lives had intersected in space and time, and for an instant, we were one united tribe, a group of mothers who protect the young…The Mom Tribe.
An hour later I was sitting in the plane, writing down the incident to preserve its memory. Now I’m sharing it with you because I am proud to be a member of this tribe.
The Mom Tribe
The steady stream of passengers making their way to their airport departure gates suddenly breaks down into a series of eddies around which men swirl as the women are halted by one quavering word.
The young voice instantly brings nearby mothers of all ages, creeds, nationalities, and ethnicities to a state of alert so high, Homeland Security is jealous.
“Papa??” The little voice rises in pitch and volume, kicking into gear the auto-locator inherent to members of The Mom Tribe.
Focused and concentrated, the mothers freeze, zeroing in on a three-foot traveler dragging a mini Dora the Explorer rolling bag…alone. With one eye on the lost child, the women scan for the missing papa, not at all distracted by the voices of their oblivious male companions.
“Why are you stopping?” “What’s the matter?” “Did you forget something?”
One of the women follows the child as it turns a corner, keeping her distance until such time the distance may need to be closed.
The child spies a young man, head bent over his cellphone as he meanders toward his destination. “Papa!” the youngster shrieks with relief.
His head jerks up from his cell phone as he pauses mid-stride. “What?”
“Wait for me!” The child breaks into the awkward jog defined by a rolling bag.
Her father catches the eye of the watchful woman and hurriedly pockets his phone. “I’m right here, sweetie.”
The woman gives him The Eyebrow and Pursed Lips usually reserved for unruly children. Assured the child is safe, she retraces her steps.
As she returns to the airport concourse, she bobs her head at the other tribe members awaiting her report. “She found him,” she announces to the concourse in general. “He was on his cellphone.”
Knowing heads wag back and forth with disgust. Eyes roll in annoyance. Shoulders relax. All is well. High alert is cancelled. The tribe of maternal strangers melts back into the steady stream of passersby making their way.
“What?” asks one of their male companions.
“Nothing to worry about,” she replies.
I’m a Mom. What’s your superpower?