I locked up my car and walked to the sidewalk leading to the thrift shop. When I looked up, the child’s eyes met mine. We both smiled.
“What a beautiful baby,” I told the young mother.
Inches away from them, looking straight at the face of the roughly six- month-old child, I said, “I should say what a handsome little boy.”
The boy smiled again and reached out his arms to me.
Surprised but pleased, I asked, “Do you mind if I hold your baby?”
“No, go right ahead,” she answered reaching towards me so that I could take the child into my arms.
I held on tightly, and he held tightly onto me. He put his little arms around my neck and hugged me with his soft cheek against mine.
After a sweet hug he adjusted his body on my hip so that he was again looking at me and smiling.
“I haven’t held a baby in 30 years,” I told her. “Thank you for sharing your baby with me.”
“You’re welcome,” she answered. “He really likes you.”
Warm from the hug and still smiling, I said, “I’m glad… because I really like him.”
* * * * * *
“What do you miss?” the young man asks the old woman.
Ah, now, let me think.
I miss not the washing of the second floor windows but the climbing of the ladder.
I miss not the city of my youth but the bicycling through the beautiful streets.
I miss not the birthdays and the holidays but the people who were there and are here no more.
I miss not the daily visits but the cat Olivia and the dog Scooter, whom I loved and who loved me.
I miss not the ice and the snow but the ice skating, the sledding, and the after sitting by the warm stove sipping my mother’s hot chocolate.
I miss not the dream house of a young mother but the toddler son running through the home laughing and playing.
“So, you do miss?” asks the young man of the old woman.
“Oh, yes,” answers the old woman.