As the weather in Columbus finally eeked into the 60’s today, I decided it was necessary to get outside for a while in the afternoon. If the only way to make that happen on a day so busy I missed my lunch break was to run some office errands around downtown, then so be it. So I was on my way back from the post office, headed to the bank, when a little ways ahead of me I spotted two tiny children walking toward me with their mother.
Both children carried long, spiraled lollipops which must have just been purchased for them as a special treat during their downtown visit. The bright yellows and shiny pinks swirled into the candy were a stark contrast to the overcast day and the kids’ own drab coats. They family was dressed warmly enough, but it was apparent they were of no great means.
As I came closer, the little boy (he could’ve been no more than three or four) dropped his lollipop onto the sidewalk. The look on his tiny face was first of horror, then misery as he began to cry. “Oh, baby,” his mom said, squatting next to him, putting one hand on his shoulder and scooping up the candy quickly. I had every expectation that she would next toss it in the nearby trashcan and tell the child something to the effect of, “You should’ve been more careful. No more.” Instead, without a thought, she put the candy in her mouth and effectively cleaned off any dirt that might’ve gotten on it in the few seconds it had been on the ground.
It was a bit surprising, but then again, with this single, selfless act, she had just shown her child protection and love. Yes, she took a little dirt (literally), but it won’t kill her.
This brief event on an otherwise uneventful Tuesday afternoon has been seared into my mind, for some reason. I can’t figure why it means so much to me, but I may keep it up there forever, and may even be able to drag it out again someday when I have my own children. I can only hope.