There are people who don’t think much about children and there are people who really can’t tolerate children and then there are the magical souls who love children, all children, any children, just because they’re small and uninhibited and unmuted and unrestrained and imaginative and unimpeded. The people who never ever think “could they keep them quiet?” or “what a mess!” or “don’t they realize this is a work place!” -- who don’t walk by with a mild smile, even, but instead light up for the kids’ kind of incessant BARBARIC YAWP (Dead Poets Society version) approach to life – they are rare, of course, and all the more special for it. And because the daycare kids sometimes take walks through our halls when the weather outside is frightful each one of these special adults who dress in business clothes but carry fairy dust in their pockets, each of them who works in this building knows my kids, and whenever they see my girls, they always have a story for me later.
There is a twinkle-blue-eyed grandpa type on the facilities staff whom I adore, and who stopped me this morning. “I saw your girl yesterday,” he said. “The younger one?”
He told me that he was called down to daycare to change a lightbulb and by coincidence, the teacher who answered the door buzzer to let him in had taken L with her on the walk up the front. He had had his ladder on his shoulder, he told me, and L let go of the teacher’s hand, pulled his pant leg, pointed at the ladder and demanded, Uppy! Uppy!
He looked at the teacher who looked back at him with a little shrug. Wordlessly, they agreed, and he carefully set the ladder up against the bright blue wall and L scrambled right up it. He and the teacher, forming a protective net around her, watched her reach the top rung. She yelled YAY! and then asked down? and climbed right up again.
“I hope you don’t mind that I did that,” he said, smiling broadly. “Your girl made me feel like such a hero.”