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My husband and I shuffle down the hall and take the elevator to the lobby.

The metal doors bolt open.

Parents wrangle loud children running circles around luggage racks. Businessmen and women hunch over laptops with paper cups of coffee nearby. An older man skims the pages of USA Today; he lowers it a bit, slightly irritated when a kid nearly trips over his foot.

I look out the windows. They’re fogged over from a record high heatwave, but I can see a row of yellow taxi cabs. Drivers are clearly eager to make a buck from folks rushing to catch early morning flights.

It seems to be an ordinary morning for everyone at the hotel. An ordinary morning for everyone except my husband and me, that is.

We are hundreds of miles from home and I am nervously holding a brand new baby girl in my arms. It is our first morning as her mom and dad, and it is quite surreal.

I don’t remember much of the chaos leading up to the whirlwind adoption of our daughter, but I do remember her birth mom looking at my husband and me—barren from years of infertility and hopelessness—and somehow deciding that out of all the people in the entire world, we were perfect and worthy to be the parents of her beautiful daughter.

My husband and I are running on no sleep and pure adrenaline from becoming a mom and dad literally overnight. And as the world spins at a fast pace in the hotel lobby around us, we carefully slide through the commotion and turn the corner toward the hotel restaurant.

A tall man is wearing a red polo shirt and khaki shorts.

“Good morning!” he says with a smile. “Y’all here for breakfast?”

We nod and smile back.

He takes us to a booth. We each pick a side and scooch in.

My husband sets down an awkwardly heavy diaper bag. It is overflowing with pre-made bottles, extra outfits, a handful of burp cloths and at least a dozen diapers because we have no idea how to care for a newborn.

“Do you want anything for the baby?” the waiter asks as he motions toward a stack of highchairs.

I look at him, then look at the six-pound baby in my arms.

“No thanks. I’ll just hold her.”

The man looks back at me with a grin and says, “Momma knows best!”

He fills up our coffee mugs, leaves the carafe at our table and walks away. And in that moment, I look at my husband and begin cry.

It is the first time someone has called me a mom, and it is a moment I’ve desperately ached and yearned for.

Six years have flown by since that stranger in the hotel restaurant said those three simple words to me; six years since he freely and effortlessly gave me the most basic yet profound words of encouragement that I, as a mom, know what’s best for my child.

Those three words spoken by a man I never knew have carried me through four children and various seasons of motherhood.

His casual yet sincere confidence in my role as a new mom were—and still are—a great reminder that even on the most ordinary of days, we can have an extraordinary impact on those around us, and that a little encouragement for a new mom can go a long way.

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Shelley Skuster

Shelley is the writer behind She's a former award-winning news reporter who -- after years of infertility, two adoptions and a pregnancy -- decided to leave TV news to stay at home and focus on raising her three daughters -- ages three and under.

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