Fortunately the McBaby takes after his father in a lot of ways. Apart from looking like a smaller version of his dad, he also shares his kind and caring nature. I have known this since he was born, but he showed this side of his character last week while visiting my mum's friend in a way that made me blub.
When she was a student nurse, my mum was taken under the wing of an older couple who both worked at the same hospital. Mr T was a capable, fit man who ran down to the sea to swim every morning before work and Mrs was a nurse who made a lot of money by clever investment. An extremely intelligent and progressive woman, she used a lot of this money to set up a charity in MOngolia which helps to educate children, and visits regularly to hand over scholarships to these schoolchildren. That was until two years ago when she had a stroke.
Left bed bound and unable to move or communicate, she's been having physio to the point where she can now sit up in a wheelchair, but that's about it. My mum goes to see them every week and asked the McBaby and I if we'd like to visit. WHile I thought it was a good idea, I hesitated at the thought of standing there in the way, not knowing what to say (much like how I do every day of the week).
We arrived at the flat and pressed the bell. The couple's son opened the door and let us in. I turned around to ask him how he was and realised he'd run out of the door as we came in.
Not perturbed, I saw MrsT in her chair and bid her a cheery hello. There was nothing in her eyes at all. Her husband welcomed me in and asked how old the McBaby was.
"Six months", I said.
"WHat? He's so tall, I thought he was about a year old!" Here he switched to English and simply exclaimed: "Unexpected!"
My mum held the McBaby and took him to MrsT. She didn't move, but he reached out and put his hand very gently on her cheek and smiled at her. Her eyes went red and a tear rolled down her face.
She then reached out and grabbed his foot with a powerful grip and seemed to try to say something. There was a stunned silence. SHe tried again. It seemed she was asking his name.
MrT said she'd not tried to speak before, so I asked if I could look at the view. (Read: Escape so I could stop myself crying).
Harbour views in Hong Kong are rare and if you have one, you never know how long it will be there before land reclamation and extensive building work sees a block of flats appear in front of your window. Instead of a sea view, you're soon looking at a guy eating noodles in his pants. However, Mr and Mrs T have a great view. In front of them is a hotel which has been constructed with a hole in the middle to allow the "chi" (energy) to flow through it for positive "feng shui". I mentioned this to MrT. "We don't believe in such a thing", he said, the first time I've ever heard a Chinese person say this!
We left not long after that. I'd like to think that MrsT will get better, but what I've learned is that though someone might not be communicative, there's still plenty of activity going on, so it's important to talk to them, care for them and perhaps wave a baby's foot near them....