The last week's been pretty hot and muggy - for Portland - but this morning dawned so beautifully! At 5:15 when I went out to walk Chloe dog it was only in the upper 50's compared to the mid-to-upper-60's and it felt wonderful! As 9 o'clock rolled around, Dylan was anxious to set out for our morning walk so I got my old single stroller ready to roll with Cooper tucked in with several baby blankets to bolster him on the sides so he wouldn't drift to port or starboard. Dylan's only 2 but he's an amazing walker for such a young child. We've gone on some pretty good walks, around 16 city blocks round-trip. Today I decided to see just how far he's able to go, just for future reference, so we set out for a Dollar Tree store that's around 14 blocks from our house...28 blocks in all round-trip! With Dylan strapped into his little Monkey harness, away we went. Now, one thing about going on a 'big boy' walk with him, we not only have time to stop and smell the roses, we have time to plant and grow the roses. We stop and investigate everything! We collect rocks to toss down sewer grates. He loves to go up to the windows of businesses that are along the way and peer in. We've got to stop and watch every garbage truck, police car, ambulance, motorcycle, and bus that passes by. We pause to watch military jets, helicopters, and planes passing overhead. We smell flowers. He pokes at ants and sow bugs. We just...meander. It used to be, when it was just him and me and I'd push him along in the stroller, a walk that would take us maybe 10-15 minutes tops. Today it took about an hour. When we got there he was tired, so I bought him a "Happy Birthday" helium balloon, an orange/vanilla pop-up frozen sorbet, and a bottle of apple juice. We found a shady spot under a tree on the edge of the parking lot and sat down so he could have a rest and his snack. As we set out for home he was somewhat refreshed but as we went along his steps got slower and slower and, about two blocks later, he ever-so-slowly sank to the ground, sat on his bottom and refused to go another step. Oh dear. We were still about 12 blocks from home. What to do, what to do. I had Cooper in the single stroller...no place to put Dylan. I couldn't carry him and I couldn't egg him on even one more step. So...I stood there thinking for a moment, looking over my situation and trying to figure out how to get two tired little guys home...Cooper would soon be wanting a bottle. At first I put Dylan in the stroller seat and I had Cooper in my arms, thinking maybe I could fit the two of them in the seat together. But Dylan's almost as big as a 5-year-old so that idea went out the window. Standing in the doorway of a nearby tavern, a lady who works in there stood watching my dilemma. I've seen her many times in previous walks and I've always smiled and said hello to her as I've passed by. Well, this morning she came over rather tentatively towards me and asked, "Can I help you?" Now, if I was a person who judged other people by their 'covers' there's no way in the world I would've felt comfortable about accepting her help. She was covered in tattoos and pretty wild looking, as well as beaten down by life. But I looked in her eyes and saw nothing but kindness and concern and I said, "Sure. You can hold the baby for me if you will." And I handed over Cooper. She took him into her arms and her eyes just warmed up. "Oh, hello little fellow!" she crooned and cradled him so tenderly. We decided the best solution to the problem was to take all the blankets I'd used to bolster Cooper up in the stroller seat and line the cloth basket along the bottom of the stroller and place him in there...kind of like Baby Moses, ha! So that's what we did and she was so helpful, making sure Cooper was settled in there comfortably. And, after much profuse gratitude on my part for her kindness, off we went on our way. Dylan kept leaning over and looking down to make sure Cooper was ok...and he was! He laid there looking up at me and cooing and having a grand old time!
So...that was our big adventure for the day. And it was another one of those days where the unexpected kindness of a stranger showed me once again the basic decency inside of all of us.