The Small Things – a father and his daughter
I was on Coco Beach the other day. It had been a hot afternoon but now the sun was tipping down in the sky and there was a pale pink streak on the horizon. The summer has truly arrived. The sea is transparent and warm and feels like silk. As I sat drying after my swim I watched a father dressing his baby girl. I have never seen anyone dress a child so exquisitely and with such care. First he folded the towel for her to sit on then he put a blue cotton hat on her head to protect her from the sun and slipped a little white broderie anglaise shirt over her shoulders – tiny buttons for his big hands. She stood up so he could put her nappy on and he pulled her to him and kissed her, adjusted the nappy at her back. All calm, all easy. Lastly a little pair of blue cotton shorts one step, two steps, and her tan sandals with a shiny inlay. She held her right foot up to have it checked. The strap is tight and it hurts so he loosens it. He distracts her with a little turquoise stone he’s found on the beach. He calls it her ‘bijou’ (jewel) and puts it in his bag for safe keeping. ‘Le bijou, le bijou’ she chants.
Then they make their way off the beach very slowly as she stops and starts looking at this – a bicycle – and that – a bird. He is so gentle and patient with her.
And I think of all the children in the world and wish that they could know what it is to be loved and cared for like this.