Although simple, the elderly woman's words had a powerful impact on the 40-year-old as the sentiment came at the perfect time in her life.
Katie Wood has been taking her four children to Cornfield Point in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, for almost a decade every summer. However, unlike all the other times, a single trip to the beach this year proved to be one that would shift her entire outlook on parenting. Speaking to TODAY Parents, the Boston-based mom revealed that she has watched the same woman walk up and down the beach every year. "Her name is Donna and she has Alzheimer's," the 40-year-old said. "I have met her before, but she doesn’t remember any of us. The community keeps an eye on her. She's a total sweetheart."
Wood was watching her children play by the water during one such trip to Cornfield Point earlier this month when Donna approached her with a surprising request. "She came up to me and said, 'Will you take me into the water?'" Wood recalled, admitting that her initial reaction was that she didn't want to get wet. "But everything in me was like—get in the water." As the pair waded into the ocean, Donna gave insights about her background and why she is always drawn to water.
"(Donna) comes to the beach for her peace," Wood revealed. Her kindness toward the elderly woman did not go unrewarded as Donna returned the favor by sharing some precious words of parenting advice that left a lasting impression on Wood. "She looked around at the kids and said, 'The best thing we can do as moms is to simply create memories'," Wood said of Donna's response when asked for her "best Mom advice." She shared that although simple, Donna's words had a powerful impact on her as the sentiment came at the perfect time in her life.
Wood, who was at the beach that day with her sister, Erin Connor—also a mom of four—revealed that she often feels like she gets caught up in "too much" as a mom. "My sister and I get so overwhelmed sometimes, so when you hear someone comment who has been through life, to take the pressure off and just make memories... it felt so right," she said. Connor managed to capture the heartwarming interaction between Wood and Donna on camera and Wood's social media posts about the incident have left people moved by the elderly woman's words and remembering their own mothers and grandmothers.
"When this adorable woman comes up to me at the beach and asks if I'd swim with her... You ignore the fact that the water is cold. You ignore that 'I don't want to get wet' feeling. You ignore the jellyfish. And you go in. And you listen to her talk about the ocean and her childhood and all the things about life. And when I asked her what her best Mom advice is, she said, "to simply create memories," Wood captioned a photographed of herself with Donna. In another post sharing a video of the two wading into the water, she wrote: "Bigger car. Bigger house. More things. Never enough. Really, they just want you. Thanks for the reminder Donna that the best thing we can do with our kids is to simply make those memories."
Warm comments flooded the Wood's posts on Facebook. "Beautiful reminder to stop and listen to the heart and wisdom of our elders! Beautiful moment captured! Thanks for sharing," wrote Judy Fergason Pryor. "Ok this choked me up and made me miss my Grandma who was exactly the type to grab a young person to assist her and chat and share life. Let’s all be that kind of life matriarch," commented Ceci Winter Bentler.