She patted me on the head

My good friend, Hendrik recently sent me an email reminding me of the time I held his granddaughter – then a toddler, at 1 year old – when my daughter (18 at the time) and I were in Amsterdam 12 years ago.

I remember trying to charm her over dinner (little winks, little nods, funny faces, smiles, offers of food, etc) – because I love tiny children (because why, what are those little minds conjuring up anyway?), especially little goddesses like my own – and she – I remember – was suspicious (of course). But I wore her down, Isn’t it funny to say that? But tots – especially suspicious tots – can be tenacious. Finally after an hour or more she looked up at me and threw up both her arms (in what supposes as the internationally understood language of tiny children) saying ‘you can pick me up’.

I was majorly charmed. And I carried her 2 or 3 blocks after we having left the restaurant, followed closely by her uncle fretting like there was the possibility I could drop her. Ridiculous.

I absolutely cherish this memory. I mean if someone so small trusts you, throws up her arms in approval, that means you’ve garnished a trust the likes of which the Almighty God Himself would endorse.

PS – This recollection triggered another memory – which I’ve written down, but can’t find – where Hendrik and I were on a ferry (2009?) crossing the Chesapeake Bay and while topside I got into a nice conversation with a man about my age. He was being closely trailed by his preternaturally mature 8 year old daughter who in a stunning and yet obsequious display of maternal affection – and complete age reversal – took it onto herself to comfort me (because why, I don’t remember) by standing at my seat, and patting me gently on the head.

Little things and little people can put the biggest smiles on our face.

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