Monday, June 21, 2010
As I went up and down the supermarket aisles yesterday, I was followed by the sound of a tiny baby crying. There she was, in a pod perched on top of her mother's trolley, no longer reassured by her mother's voice. By the time I reached the bread shelves, the little cry had become louder and more shrill. I could hear it right down the aisle.
My shopping was done, and I was able to make for the checkout. But I paused. The sound had become slightly irritating and I was tempted to move quickly out of range. But in winter I slow down, and pay attention to things. I walked down the long aisle to where the mother and her red-faced,wailing little one were waiting at the meat counter.
'Is there any way I can help?' I asked. 'I'm used to crying babies. I have a little granddaughter.'
'She's hungry,' said the mother, 'and I'm trying to finish the shopping as quickly as I can'. 'Well, that's one thing I can't help with. But would you like me to hold her?' And this lovely trusting mother took her precious little six-week old out of the pod and handed her to me. All the baby needed was reassurance, and her cries ceased immediately. I held and rocked her while the mother attended to purchases over the counter. Then the mother took her baby, and held her close while she carried on.
What a gift, to be allowed to help. I received as much as I gave, and went away feeling tender, moved by the flow of trust and love. Maybe winter love has its own quality: soft, gentle, taking its time.