It’s bathtime. The bath is full of bubbles and toys, the tap is still trickling, and a small child is slowly shedding dirt and morphing from filthy to cleanish. I’m sat on the side of the tub with my hand dangling in the water.
“Clean you up” says little E, taking my hand. She holds my hand firmly and rubs bubbles onto it. She rinses her hands under the tap, one hand then the other, holding them out of the bathwater to keep them clear of bubbles. She takes hold of me again, firmly in control and rinses off my fingers one at a time. In between each finger, back of my hand and palm, carefully looking for any soap residue. She talks to me as she works, asking me to hold still, reassuring me that she’s nearly finished. She goes through the process half a dozen times, with the gravity of a top surgeon handling a serious case. Everything is controlled, everything is deliberate.
This went on for a good ten minutes. Through the whole thing, I felt close to tears. Not sad, but proud. I couldn’t help but think, this kid can do anything. ANYTHING. Her focus, her concentrated effort, her kindness and caring. In her strong and capable hands, I was safe. In hands like that, the world is safe.