Six-thirty in the morning, and a two-year-old comes over to me, her blonde hair sticking up haphazardly around her high ponytail and the seam of her hot pink long sleeve t-shirt rolled up over her pudgy tummy. She’s holding out her hands to me, one folded under the other. Huge alligator tears are rolling down her chubby cheeks and her nose is scrunched up and running down her face in streaks. She leans to me, her tiny body pressing against my legs. I am seated at one of the benches, hunched forward on my elbows. I turn to her and open up my arms. With one scoop I pull her to me, and instinctively, she curls against my chest. Her tiny body is warm and innocent; she presses closer to me and I can hear her soft sobs. She nuzzles her head against my neck and I cradle her there, gently, as if she were my own child.
As she rests against me, tiny arms and fuzzy ponytail in my face, I am struck by the simple beauty of human connection, how each of us, child or adult, is drawn to this sense of closeness, this comfort another can bring. When we are little, we automatically pull to one another–this sense of human connection is innate, born into us. Then we spend our lives finding it in a mother’s kiss, a father’s pat on the back, a lover’s body curled around ours. There is something simple, something wonderful about a hug, a touch, a kiss, two bodies embracing. The way this child clings to me, her cheek against the soft of my sweatshirt, reminds me how easy this is. How easy it is to find and to cherish this human connection. How as we get older, we make things so complicated, when maybe all we really need is to wrap our arms around each other and know that this is what we were meant to do–love and be loved.