We were on a walk with a neighbor couple and their precocious four year old, enjoying some rare winter sunshine when we came to the corner and stopped at the light. J was snuggled up to my chest in her Ergo, blinking sleepily in the brightness. Andrew caught up to me and we waited together. Our party wasn't alone on the corner. It was MLK day, and many of the events in our city that celebrate the legacy of Dr. King happen in our neighborhood. A thin black woman walked up next to us, lit a cigarette, and did a double-take at the sight of J.
"Is that your baby?" She asked, looking past me to Andrew.
"Yup, this is my baby." I replied, letting myself sound proud.
"Really." She looked again at J, squinting a little. "What's her name?"
I told her. The light turned green and we started crossing the street together. She walked next to me in silence for a couple seconds and then as we reached the other side spoke again.
"Well you have got yourself one beautiful baby!"
"I know, right?" I smiled at her. "Thank you."
"You better take care of that baby!" She tossed it back over her shoulder, heading a different direction from our little crowd. "If you don't, I'm going to whoop ya."
"Don't worry," I whispered softly into J's fuzzy curls, kissing her forehead. "You won't have to whoop me."