She was holding my baby, tears streaming down her face, and I hardly knew her.
Our daughters had been playing together wild and free, strangers prior, discovering each other in the midst of dress-up fairy wings at our local children’s museum. She and I laugh at the ease with which friendships are formed at their age.
We chat. It is fine, we keep it safe. And then I need help:
I have to put my baby sling back on after nursing my newborn but can’t find an acceptable place to lay my five-week old as I get situated. I look at this woman, this stranger really, and think, I could ask her to hold my baby for a second while I got assembled and it wouldn’t be completely weird, right?
I ask, she gladly accepts and nuzzles that newborn right up on her shoulder and begins rocking back and forth in the mama sway that we all somehow know. I look at this woman no older than myself, and there she is, crying big tears right in the middle of the fairy wings.
Unsure of what exactly is going on, I ask, “How old is your daughter?” hoping this question allows her to share however much she wants, shows her that I see her.
“Oh, she’s five and I have a seven-year-old too,” she says. “I wanted to have more, but right when we were going to start trying again I learned that I had thyroid cancer.”
And there it is. Her hardest truth, spilling over with her tears in the Denver Children’s Museum.