“How old is she?” the tall woman with the reluctant smile asked as I pushed Thalia in the black bucket swing.
“She’ll be a year in a couple weeks.”
“Oh how nice,” she remarked while pushing a smartly dressed boy of roughly the size. “Same here. Is she talking?”
“No. Well, she does say cat. Sometimes. Sometimes it’s cad and sometimes it’s dat but pretty much she says cat. Is he?”
“Oh yes. Mama, Papa, Go, Up…So, is she walking?”
“Walking!” I said with a chuckle. “No, not walking. Which makes it easier on us, heh, since…”
“Really? Not walking? Is she standing? Crawling?”
“Crawling sure,” I said. “She’s waving to you by the way.” I indicated to my daughter who was furiously bouncing her hand up and down at the wrist in the woman’s direction. The woman gave a half-hearted wiggle of her fingers, the bare minimum of anatomical movement needed to constitute a wave.
It takes a special person to ignore a smiling, maniacally waving baby.
I eagerly anticipated a follow-up question on how many signs my daughter had, since this time I was prepared with a clever retort about men at work. (Okay, so clever only to me and maybe my father.) But instead, she silently gathered the little boy and got him settled in his stroller.
In the time it took for me to unscrew the cap off my lukewarm water bottle and take a gulp, she was already through the iron gate that marked the exit. No goodbye, nothing. Just an empty swing and some footprints in the sand where she had been standing.
Here’s the kicker: She wasn’t the mom.
She was the nanny.