After a wearisome day of travel this past weekend, I was eager to get home as quickly as possible. During our final rest stop, I corralled the girls into the restroom, pulled the changing table down, undressed Kerrington, and then scrounged through the diaper bag.
No diapers. This is never good.
I reattached her dirty diaper, fastened a dozen snaps to redress her, and lugged everyone back to the car to rummage for a spare diaper.
On my second trip, three elderly women entered the restroom. Their gates were slow; their postures hunched. One paused when she saw Kerrington.
"My, she's a beautiful baby," she began. She called over her two companions. They circled around Kerrington, who was now dry and dressed but still lying on the changing table.
"Could I please pat her foot?" one asked. Of course, I told her. She extended her hand tentatively at first, then tickled Kerrington's foot while smiling and softly talking to her. Kerrington returned the gesture with heartbreakingly beautiful smiles. The deal was sealed; they were in love.
The woman -- three sisters ages 84, 81, and 79 (my girls in a mere 79 years) -- were gracious and thoughtful, and they clearly were delighted to be in the presence of a baby. "Just five-and-a-half-months old? Can you believe that?" one spoke to the others.
Other women, rushed and tired from their travels, entered the restroom and immediately were drawn into the scene. As they washed and dried their hands, they slowed down to watch the sisters fawn over Kerrington and listen to Kerrington's laughs in response.
I wanted to bottle the moment up and treasure it in my heart.
Despite their gray hair and aged postures, none of the sisters seemed old as they interacted with Kerrington. As if age disappeared entirely, I watched the four of them: my daughter who has just entered the world, and these women whose long lives had allowed them to experience so much of it.
When we parted ways, the oldest woman leaned down and kissed Kerrington on the top of her head. The gesture seemed almost holy, as if she were passing the torch to a much younger generation. Placing her hand on my arm, she said, "God bless this mother, and God bless her babies."
Had I been better prepared, I would have missed this moment entirely. I've never been so thankful for an empty diaper bag.