My heart was nicked by the edge of his glance.
I was rolling, happily along, in my power chair. I had just picked up these wonderfully funny rabbit ears for Ruby and Sadie and was eager to show them to Joe. I saw them stepping off the escalator and noticed them only because she pointed happily at the fuzzy ears I held. Her father looked down with her, lovingly, to see what her excitement was about. He saw her pointing over to me. He looked up and towards me, there was an edge, a moment, where the glance changed from 'loving' to 'protective'. His eyes caught both the fuzzy ears and me at the same time. I was smiling at her excitement, his face relaxed.
He asked me where I'd got them, I pointed to the store I'd just come out of. His daughter, spoke to me slowly - like she was practising how to speak clearly, 'They are really pretty.' I told her that they were and that I had bought them for two little girls who would love them. She said that they were lucky and then looked at her dad. He looked back and said that he thought they'd look cute on her too. She hugged him.
It was a lovely interchange.
I like small happy moments in my day.
What I remembered, later, wasn't so much the fact that she had Down Syndrome, nor that Dad was obviously proud and obviously loved his daughter. I refuse to think it spectacular that a parent love a child. What bothered me was that glance, the edge in his glance, the sharp, sharp, edge of his glance. The smoothness with which he switched from loving to protective - like he knew that there was something 'out there' that she needed protecting from, even more, that he needed protecting from. His face showed a kind of defiance, a kind of wariness, a kind of firmness - feelings of the heart which reflect so clearly on the face.
Who knows what he's seen?
Who knows what he's heard?
Who knows what he prepared him self for?
All I know is that his face was ready and his heart was on the job. The sunny smile of that little girl told me that she was growing up under the shade of a strong, strong, tree.