"Hold up Ainsley. Watch where you're going," I place my arm on her chest to keep her from wandering into the path of the oncoming grocery cart.
She is often in her own world. Imagining princes and horses and magic. Dreaming of her next big adventure.
The woman pushing the cart nods and grins at me. She looks to Ainsley, who is now squinting into the bright sun, and her grin widens and she says "Excuse me sweetie."
Behind her a very elderly woman shuffles on. She stops at Ainsley, blocking the sun from her view. I can tell immediately that this is the first woman's mother. The resemblance is striking.
"Barb, did you look at this girl?" she asks still staring at my daughter.
Her weathered fingers brush Ainsley's unruly curls away from her eyes.
"Barb, did you see her eyes?" she asks.
Her shaking hands gently stroke Ainsley's soft cheek.
"Barb, just look at her. Look at that sparkle."
A second wrinkled hand comes up to lift Ainsley's chin.
"You are a beautiful little girl," she whispers to Ainsley.
Ainsley wraps her small fingers around the woman's frail wrist. "Thank you," Ainsley responds and tears well up behind my sunglasses.
The woman pauses for a moment, smiles at Ainsley and then moves on.
I take Ainsley's hand and we walk to the car.
"That lady was so nice. She is like NonNon."
"Yep, she is probably NonNon's age."
"I love NonNon."
I buckle Ainsley into her carseat and I am struck by the beauty of the moment. Age and youth joined for a split second. For an instance, the difference between them didn't matter, that large gap was closed and my young daughter recognized that...just like she does with her NonNon.