When a stranger told Kelly Dirkes that she would "spoil that baby" as she held her child while shopping at Target, the mother didn't respond to the woman's rudeness with a haughty riposte, but rather with the quiet dignity becoming a mom.
Her posting is a soft-spoken and graceful rebuke to people who think they have the power to read the entirety of another person's story after a glance in a store aisle, or a report in a newspaper, or a 140-character tweet.
But it's also something so much more.
It's a testament to the effort that love creates. It demonstrates the strength of a mother's love. It shows the endurance, the anxiety, the fear, and the hope that sometimes seems to pale in the face of the daily obstacles that come with raising a child — any child — and how all of those things are reconciled in a loving heart and in the cradle of a mother's arms.
The post begins:
"Dear Woman in Target-
I've heard it before, you know. That I "spoil that baby". You were convinced that she'd never learn to be "independent". I smiled at you, kissed her head, and continued my shopping.
If you only knew what I know.
If you only knew how she spent the first ten months of her life utterly alone inside a sterile metal crib, with nothing to comfort her other than sucking her fingers.
If you only knew what her face looked like the moment her orphanage caregiver handed her to me to cradle for the very first time--fleeting moments of serenity commingled with sheer terror. No one had ever held her that way before, and she had no idea what she was supposed to do...."