Katie Wood has been bringing her four children to Cornfield Point in Old Saybrook, Conn., to spend the summer for nearly a decade. She never expected that a single trip to the ocean this year would change her entire perspective on parenting.
The mother of four, who lives in Boston, told TODAY Parents that she once saw the same woman walking up and down the beach.
“Her name is Donna and she has Alzheimer’s,” Wood (40) told TODAY Parents. “I’ve met her before, but she doesn’t remember any of us. The community is watching her. She’s a total sweetheart.”
Wood was watching her children by the water earlier this month when Donna approached.
“She came up to me and said, ‘Will you take me in the water?'” Wood said, adding that her initial reaction was that she didn’t want to get wet. “But everything inside me was like — get in the water.”
The two hit the ocean and Donna shared details about her childhood and why she is drawn to the water.
“(Donna) comes to the beach for her peace,” Wood told TODAY.
When Wood asked Donna for her “best Mom advice,” Donna’s response left a lasting impression.
“She looked around at the kids and said, ‘The best thing we can do as moms is just make memories,'” Wood shared. “It was so simple, but so powerful.”
Wood, who was on the beach with her sister, Erin Connor, also a mother of four, said the sentiment came at the perfect time.
“My sister and I get so overwhelmed sometimes, so when you hear someone comment who’s been through life, to take the pressure off and just make memories … it felt so right,” Wood said, adding that she often feels that she gets caught up in “too much” as a mother.
Connor captured the interaction and Wood shared it on her social media.
“When this cute woman comes up to me at the beach and asks if I’ll swim with her…,” she captioned the photo. “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.
“The timing of her saying that is so wonderful,” Wood told TODAY of her talk with Donna. “That’s what I needed to hear.”