Shopping after church this morning, I observed a young child whose head was bare of hair except for strands of dark blonde, here and there. Wispy, some long while others short. New growth spouted at her scalp, fuzzy in texture and darker in color. Her eyes were bright emerald-green, reminding me of St. Patrick’s Day. Beneath the ‘sparkle’ of her eyes were shadows of gray, lying in pockets like puffy clouds that hinted of rain.
From an isle away, I stopped my cart, not able to look away from this innocent one. She dangled bony legs in a basket pushed by her loving mother who was obviously celebrating a day alone and away with her daughter. In their basket, a dress of white ruffles with a yellow satin sash. Smiling, the little girl lifted thin arms, hugging her mommy around the neck. Bending down to plant loving kisses I noticed a tear or two fall from the mother’s face of blush pink. Quickly, she wiped them away with the palm of her hand.
I was in the store shopping for two of my grand-daughters, both of whom are healthy. I suspected the little one being pushed in the cart was not. Around the corner was a rack of fancy hats. All child-sized, some with colored rainbow ribbons falling in back, others with big bows to the side and more with flowers painted in colors of pastels.
At that moment I accidentally pushed my cart into the mother and child’s silver of the same. The little girl desperately wanted to wear a hat for Easter Sunday, and her mother so wanted to purchase one for her. Yet they were all too big on her tiny head of no hair. “Can I ask your opinion,” the mother nearly whispered to me? “Why sure,” I replied, with a smile to my face. “Delighted to help. Let’s see what we can find!”
At first it seemed a fruitless task. The sweet child’s head seemed to be swallowed in every brim. At that moment the little girl noticed what was in my cart. Easter presents for my grand-daughters. Big baby dolls with hats on their heads! Beautiful hats with ribbons and lace and yes, flowers to their sides bursting in beautiful blooms!
With an “Ah-Ha” moment I asked the mother to wait right there. Quickly, I went to the isle where baby dolls sat on shelves. Choosing another with a beautiful hat atop its head, I ran towards the front of the store. The hat was white with a pink satin sash around the middle of the wide brim. To the side was pinned an enormous flower of pink with variegated petals dipped in lime and peach. I quickly paid for my purchases before returning to the row where my new ‘friends’ could be found. There I handed the mother a separate bag. “Please accept this Easter gift on one condition.” She blushed, not knowing what to say while peeking inside. “I’d like to see how lovely your precious daughter looks in her new hat before I leave the store.”
With that the mother’s eyes welled with tears again while placing the new baby doll in her daughter’s arms. The hat from the doll’s head was lifted atop her child’s own, where it fit perfectly. Together, we wheeled their cart to a shiny mirror in order for the little one to see her new ‘hat’s self’ for the very first time.
Clutching the baby doll in arms of two, a forlorn little girl suddenly smiled with glee. Gently, she fingered flower petals as if seeing them for the very first time in the whole of her life. “Oh, Mommy, it’s so pretty! This new hat makes me look and feel like a princess!”
One week from today, I shall think of my new ‘friends’ on Easter Sunday, together with each and every year afterward.