She was wearing a knitted pink winter bonnet with ears, and a puffy little pink winter coat.
Her cheeks were red, it was so very cold outside that day, the wind was strong and billowing. She was tucked into her little umbrella stroller with her pink winter boots gently lying on the rubber foot rest.
Dad was thirty something and tall, his hair was completely blown by the wind. He was a very nice looking man, with a day or so of growth, old enough not to be paying too much attention to the gaggle of exuberant college students on the train, but still vain enough to look at his reflection in the subway window and take a moment to fix his hair, smooth it down. His hair was thinning just slightly and he had happy wrinkles starting to form around his eyes.
"Daddy, my nose," said the pink princess.
"My nose," she repeated, pointing for emphasis.
And thus, dutiful Dad fished into his pocket and came up with a white Kleenex, opened it purposely and leaned right down-all six feet (at least) of him to help the pink princess blow her little nose.
For good measure, he dabbed under her nostrils and straightened her hat, asked if she was hungry or thirsty and wiped a wisp of hair away from her face. It was so lovely, and so completely natural and loving, I was mesmerized. When I think about it, it was holy.
To randomly see so much love in so few seconds is such a gift, a snapshot to be remembered.
To participate and experience it first hand is a blessing and privilege granted by G-d.
In those few moments I thought about just how civilizing having children is not just for women or men, but for society. It was not hard for me to picture that same dear Dad only a few years earlier cavorting in bars, hanging out with the boys, flirting with women, partying-not really thinking about tomorrow or pink puffy coats and strollers, and having a pocket full of tissues. Of course these are natural stages of growing up in North America, but so many people never really grow up. How sad. How terribly sad.
Marriage and having children creates something so much bigger than oneself. You can know this on a certain cerebral level, but to actually see love in action, to witness it, is something altogether different. Not a loving gesture, but the love itself-sort of feeling, by extension, the feelings of that person's heart as it radiates outward.
Almost as quickly as they got on the subway, the pink princess and dear Dad got ready to exit, but not before Dad had another quick look in the window, and took a very modest nanosecond moment to once again smooth his hair and exit the train with the love of his life in her perfect, puffy, pink princess coat.