Friday, October 31, 2008

The Moment of Decision

We landed in Saskatoon after an uneventful flight. An enthusiastic and very young woman was at the door and prepared to help me with my wheelchair. After the last incident when my chair was stolen from the door of the aircraft, it as festooned with tags declaring it belonged to me. It looked a bit like a float. I always struggle up the ramp, at my weight it's unfair to ask anyone to push me up hill. But it wasn't much of a walk and I made the top successfully.

We chatted about the weather here, the weather in Toronto, upcoming news of the weather. We pulled out of the elevator on the baggage floor and I saw the kiosk for Avis Rental Cars. I suggested that she leave me here with our carryon bag and Joe go get the other bags. He could meet me here later when he gets the keys for the car. She agreed, he agreed, and suddenly I was alone. I like Saskatoon, indeed I like Saskatchewan, so I was looking forward to the next two days.

Between me and the counter there were several chairs, people were waiting in those chairs for travellers to come out through the double doors. A very young couple were there with a 5 or 6 year old girl with Down Syndrome. I figured they must have been baby sitting but then I heard the child call out for her mom, and the 'babysitter' turned out to be the 'mom' in question. Assumptions and stereotypes - annoy me, expecially mine about others.

Turns out that mom and dad and toddler were a very cool family group. They kept looking anxiously towards the door awaiting someone clearly important to them. Their anxiety seemed to grow every time the door openned and their party did not come through. Finally a pretty and fashionable woman came out, just by looking I could tell she was dad's mother. They both had faces carved by the same genetic hand. He stood up, smiling nervously, mom picked up the child. There was tension in the air.

I didn't know the story behind this tension, but I could guess it. The two young parents stood there smiling and waving a greeting. She stood still for a moment as if frozen in indecision.

Then time started again and she moved forward, pushed partly by the others now coming through the door.

Mom first hugged her son. Then she glanced at the child who was squirming to get down out of Mom's arms. Once on the floor she ran at her grandmother with her arms out. A hard face melted and a child was picked up.

My guess?

It's going to be an OK visit after all.


Cynthia said...

I love how you tell stories! There are times I miss people watching, and this is one of them.
Cool story. Brought back those tense times before my son was born and wondering how life would be with his grandparents. As you said, stereotypes can be annoying, and some of our son's grandparents were full of them. Everything worked out, beautifully!

Happy Halloween!

abby said...

The moment of the melting face of another is one of the most beautiful things I see as the mom of a little one with Down syndrome. And the moments leading up to the melt....some of the longest I have ever experienced.

Thanks for capturing it all once again