Four roaring ladies and a baby on a plane

Four ladies and a baby are waiting to board a plane. I spot them as they sit together in a circle, eating and drinking, the baby happily playing at their feet. I try to come up with explanations in my mind for the scene playing off in front of me. Not one seems to be adequate. After a while I realize that I actually can’t stop looking at them, like a stalker of some sorts. Is it the pure, innocent joy and love having a field day between them that cause me to be in awe? Or the tiny, beautiful little girl, light as a feather? Whatever the reason, I can’t stop looking. For what is happening in this little circle is one of the most beautiful things I have ever had the privilege of seeing.

Not one of the four ladies can be the mother, I think, unless one of them had the baby at a very advanced age. Not impossible, but highly unlikely by the looks of it. Then maybe some of them are her grandmothers, others her aunts? They definitely know the ins and outs of this little one. The tiny girl has Down Syndrome. She is as petite as the softest of breezes, dressed in a light pink romper with big, wonderful eyes. She knows she is immensely loved by the four ladies; the confidence in her tiny upright posture speaks of it. She frolics like the lightest of pink butterflies between them. Light that pierces all darkness radiates from each of the ladies towards her.

Each of these ladies is geared to take care of her. One produces from her handbag a bottle with water that she gives to the baby. The next lady gives her some medicine, probably to ease her tiny nerves for the approaching flight. The other lady takes from her bag a little bag with some fruit that the baby grabs with eager hands. The fourth lady gives her a dummy to suck on. All of them takes the little girl in their arms and laughs and hugs her. They take turns and share duties, completely at ease. The girl is as incredibly comfortable with the one as with the next. The synergy in this little circle is like a perfect synchronized swimming display, practiced and rehearsed for months beforehand, eliminating any chance of anyone dropping the ball. They handle her as they would their most precious belonging, their own flesh and blood. They realize what is at stake.

My curiosity begins to nag and I still can’t figure out a story. I want to get up and ask them and when they rise to make their way to the plane, I take my chance.

“Excuse me for my curiosity,” I say to the lady with the blonde hair holding the baby as the others file behind her, like a regiment. “I need to ask, how does this fit together?” I gesture to all of them, my eyes fixed on the little girl.

The lady with dark pinned-up hair and eyes shiny with mischief reply, “We are abducting her!”

We all laugh for a little while. Then lady with the blonde hair becomes serious. “This is my husband’s cousin’s daughter’s little girl. She has Down Syndrome.”

“How old is she?” I ask. I realize that I could never have come up with this explanation. I thought that only very close family could account for the level of intimacy I am seeing.

“She is eleven months old,” she replies, crystals in her blue eyes. “She has a twin sister who is very sick. I am taking her to visit the sea for the first time. We are staying for four nights and hope I will be able to take care of her!”

I look at all the ladies and think of the synergy I saw a few minutes earlier. “And all of you are going with for the weekend?” I ask, amazed. “It sure looks as though every one of you knows how to take care of this little girl?”

“Yes and yes, we are going with, wouldn’t miss this for anything. We are her village! A roaring one!” The lady with the soft eyes looks at the one holding the little girl.

Then they are off, excitement tangible, lionesses with their precious cub. Indeed, their laughter roars through the airport passages. They sure know what they are doing. They are on a determined mission to take care of a little girl while showing her the wonders of the sea. Later, I read about lionesses on https://animals.mom.me/how-do-lions-care-for-their-young-12078353.html: ‘Many of the females in a pride give birth around the same time, so they have cubs of a similar age. This makes it natural for them to care for, protect and feed each other’s young. In fact, the lionesses in a pride will often nurse other lioness’s cubs. It is truly communal care.’

Communal care. I think of the little girl waiting to board a plane and her mother at home taking care of her twin sister. How tired and overwhelmed the mother must be with eleven month old-twins with special needs!  My mind drifts to the four ladies and how they have taken on the wellbeing of the little girl as if she is their own and in doing so is taking care of the mother in the most profound manner. It is there for everyone to see. They do not shy away from being the village this mother desperately needs, in fact, they go above and beyond. They open their hearts wide enough to house a child other than their own. They unconditionally love and protect this little girl as they do their own flesh and blood and they do so with incredible joy. Their wish for this little girl is to thrive and be sure of their love for her, even when she is not their own. They do all of this at an age where you would think they would not have the energy for a little girl of eleven months old. They are the village defined, the village in action, the village that is one of the foundations of motherhood being a beautiful journey.

Four ladies and a baby are waiting to board a plane. I spot them as they sit together in a circle, eating and drinking, the baby happily playing at their feet. I try to come up with explanations in my mind for the scene playing off in front of me. Not one seems to be adequate. After a while I realize that I actually can’t stop looking at them, like a stalker of some sorts. Is it the pure, innocent joy and love having a field day between them that cause me to be in awe? Or the tiny, beautiful little girl, light as a feather? Whatever the reason, I can’t stop looking. For what is happening in this little circle is one of the most beautiful things I have ever had the privilege of seeing.

Here is to every friend and family member of mine that form part of my village. I need all of you desperately. I salute each one of you as the heroes in my life. A village in action is indeed one of the most beautiful, hopeful things on earth to see. I count myself as the most privileged amongst privileged to be able to experience this.

And this is all I need to know right now.

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