On our way out of the dinosaur show at the ROM I bought two beautiful glass blown ornaments, one for each girl, for souvenirs. I'm a shopper. The clerk wrapped each up in bubble wrap and put each in it's own beautiful red box. Ruby came with me to where Joe was sitting, just outside the shop, while the others continued to browse. Joe asked us what was tucked away in the boxes. Ruby promptly pulled them out and began opening one. I panicked, they were really fragile. Ruby assured me that she would be very, very, careful. And she was.
When the first was wrapped up, Joe helping Ruby, it was put away. The next was got out and it was being wrapped. Ruby was insisting that she could do it herself. I really wanted the ornament, which wasn't really expensive but it wasn't really cheap either, to survive. So I was in the process of explaining to Ruby that Joe would do it as I passed it over to Joe. Something happened in the pass. The ornament slipped. I had it for a second, Joe had it for a second, then I had it once more but it bounced back to Joe. Ruby stood watching in horror as the ornament dropped moment by moment towards the cement floor. Then, it hopped, it popped and then it smashed. A huge loud smash.
Ruby's hands went to her face in a cherubic Canadian child version of Munch's 'Scream'. Everyone turned to look. I turned my glance from the floor, with dinosaur bits glistening in the light, to the faces of others waiting for others shopping. The air tense and made fragile by the sound of glass shattering. Not a parent amongst them couldn't recognise that particular sound of tragedy.
I said to the crowd, "And we thought she'd break it."
It was one of those moments when everyone caught the mood and we erupted into laughter. People were peeking out of the shop to see people howling around a fracture of glass.
It felt good.
To laugh again.