He invited her to walk up to Him and as she did He knelt down. She was around 7 or 8 years old. Her brown straight hair hanging unkept around her face. Her bare feet dirty and her clothing worn. I vaguely recognized her. In His arms He cradled a small baby. She looked down at the baby and grinned up at Him. A knowingness passing between them.
I was watching all this unfold before me as if they couldn’t see me except when they looked at each other I felt myself step back. They both turned toward me and He beckoned me forward.
Tentatively, not sure but also scared of what was happening I walked toward Him. He stood up and invited me to look at the baby. As I got close enough to see features I saw myself.
I was the baby.
And I was the child.
“Can you look at her?”
I didn’t want to. She was so innocent. She had no idea the life that was before her. She was perfect and blameless.
The weight was to much. I shook my head.
He knelt down again and held her out to the child who eagerly opened her arms.
I watched the child me hold the baby me. She was still grinning.
I felt the weight of their lives. Someone should tell them, warn them, protect them! Someone needed to do something!! The only someone was me but I couldn’t speak.
He saw me wanting to make everything okay and He shook His head slightly. No.
I could do nothing but stand there and watch.
“I like myself” I wrote. “I look at the person I was 2 years ago and have nothing but compassion for her”.
It was months after the first encounter. The little girl still held the baby. He was still watching them and watching me watch them. She still had a grin on her face as she walked over to me.
I found myself kneeling down and folding back the blanket to see more of the baby.
She was really cute. And happy. I couldn’t help but smile back.
The little girl asked ‘Ready?’
I laughed a little. Yes, I was ready. Whatever had happened in the months between the first offer and this second had changed me.
Gently I took me. Still stooped down so I could be with both the baby and the child.
The weight had disappeared and in its place calm and tenderness.
“She’s so pretty” I told her.
“Yeah we are” replied the little girl. “Why didn’t you hold her before?”
The question caught me a little off guard and I let myself fall the rest of the way to the floor still holding the baby. I wondered how to explain it to an 8 year old.
“I didn’t like us” I started. “I knew the life that you have to live and it makes me sad. I want to help you and I can’t. I can just be here and tell you it’s going to be okay.”
She looked at me and I wondered if any of it made sense to her. Did she even know that I was her?
“But you’ll be with me right? You won’t leave?”
I was startled.
“Of course I won’t leave you. Would you leave this baby alone?”
A look of horror crossed her face. A look I felt and put scenes from my childhood to. She really was me in every way.
She didn’t answer and I knew that we both understood. She would never leave the baby and I would never leave her.