At my polling place this evening, I saw a mother voting with a very young daughter in her lap. “Can you say ‘vote?'” She asked the baby. “Can you say ‘voice?'”
Her 18-month-old daughter, clearly not in favor of a peaceful democracy, kept vigorously trying to grab her mother’s pen, thereby preventing her from exercising her constitutional rights — so I offered to distract her. After thoroughly investigating my phone (her doting mother took forever to vote because she kept stopping to enjoy what her daughter was doing and singing songs with her; DAMN I love good parents!), she moved on to my cane.
She knew it was a very important piece of equipment and so she first climbed up into a folding chair to sit: no mean feat for a kid her age and size.
She then picked up my cane (the green folding one with the hand-painted rosebuds, for those would would like a visual) and gravely listened to the handle for a few moments.
Then, she sat up high and proud and began pounding the tip importantly and majestically on the ground, as if she were calling a meeting of ridiculously tiny get dignified elders to order where they would soon be making decisions of monumental importance.
She knew a cane is a symbol of power and independence. She was magnificent.
After her mom was done filling out the ballot, the girl decided that it was important to fling herself to the ground and wail quietly.
“It’s all right,” her mom said calmly and lovingly. “You can fall out. I’ll be over here in line.”
We talked about how nice it was that at the age children needed most to do this they were located so conveniently close to the ground. No one in the polling place batted an eye at the fit. Everyone greeted each other and smiled. The mom stopped to hug a neighbor and chat. Her daughter got bored with the fit and came to stand next to her mother in line, holding her hand, wiping her nose with her sleeve, looking up at me with wide, moist eyes.
Sometimes, people are indescribably beautiful.