On our flight home from DC, an older man sitting in the row behind us very genuinely told me "You must be a wonderful mother" after remarking on the girls' exemplary behavior.
And that little sincere comment made up for a lot that day.
It made up for the snarky check-in counter lady who kept threatening to charge me another ticket for Adrianna since I didn't have documentation of her age and acting like she was doing me a huge favor by letting me slide through this LAST time.
[Dear Southwest: I have flown at least ten times in the last three and and half years with a lap baby, and YOU are the first airline to say a damn thing. I think you're talking out your ass about how the FDA regulations have always been around for needing such documentation and are just trying to off balance having cheaper fairs and free luggage check by being jackholes in other ways. Go. To. Hell.]
It made up for the TSA tool who insisted I open up one of Kristina's chocolate milk boxes for him to fume test irregardless of me repeatedly telling him that SEALED food/drink products for children ARE allowed through the security check point, and as I couldn't just shove it back in the diaper bag post opening I handed it to her to drink right then which promptly resulted in her spilling it all down the front of her new matched cousin dress at 8:30 in the morning.
It made up for being told the wrong gate number and needing to power walk while pushing an overloaded stroller and carrying overstuffed laptop and computer bags halfway across the terminal to just barely make the flight after finally locating a departure board when I discovered the gate I thought we had was headed to Ethiopia.
It made up for the general annoyance of having a layover and needing to unload from the plane and reload into the stroller just to unload and get back on another plane an hour later.
It even (mostly) made up for the airport McDonald's giving Kristina apples instead of french fries and me regular Dr. Pepper instead of Diet Coke when we ordered an overpriced artery clogging lunch.
It was far and away the highlight of my otherwise long, exhausting, and kinda sucky day.
(Well, that and the 15 minutes when both girls were asleep on our second flight.)
Thank you, Dear Stranger, for that wonderful kindness.