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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)

TITLE: Boys, Bubble Gum and Smiley Faces
By Jennifer Wetter


Whoever said children were a blessing sure hadn’t meant mine. It certainly takes a village to raise children and to think I only have one. Although I couldn’t truly imagine a day without him…well okay maybe today I could.

Naked children are meant for bathtubs and bathroom, not flowerbeds and front yards.

“Charlie,” I coddled. “Come on, honey bath time.”

An innocent smile played across his angelic two year old face. My heart melted and my anger faded. I shook my head, I was a sap for smiles especially his. I dreaded the thought when he learned the puppy dog eyes.

Charlie chuckled, “No, mamma.” He continued his bare bottom escape through an opening into the neighbor’s backyard. I gasped and began the mommy mad dash once again.

I pounded on the neighbor’s door. An elderly woman answered the door smiling, “Charlie’s chase again, Joan?”

I nodded, “Yep, he’s in the backyard again.” She nodded and so once again I continued on a mad dash for the sliding glass door. I managed to dodge the dogs, stumbling over shelves and teetering around tables.

I stepped outside, glancing around for Charlie only to see him sitting in the arms of Chuck, our elderly neighbor. His eyes were sparkling like diamonds as his mouth was busy chewing.

“Here you are Joan,” Chuck smiled. “That’s the fifth escape this month. Maybe you should consider some of those hi-tech gizmos.”

I shook my head, “Nothing will keep him inside especially when you’ve got your gum aimed and ready.” Charlie tugged on my arm insisting he was ready to go home.

“Same time tomorrow then,” Chuck chuckled. I nodded in appreciation and Charlie nodded in thanks.

I smiled, “Let’s finish that bath, ok kid.” His small head shrugged as it leaned against my shoulder. He was asleep by time I’d walked through the neighbor’s and into our front.

Oh well, I thought. I’ll just try again tomorrow.

I gently laid Charlie into his bed, his big boy bed as he often insisted. I quietly leaned over and gave him a small kiss on the cheeks. He was such a blessing, my little boy, my little Charlie.

I’d always envisioned a life involved with men, politics, a career and financial security. Instead I was blessed with Charlie, debates over Barney and Big Bird, full time motherhood and all the gum wrappers I can collect. I laughed knowing I was doing pretty well for myself.

When I’d first gotten pregnant I was terrified I wasn’t ready for a child. It turns out he wasn’t ready for me but God knew we needed each other. Life is kind of funny that way, isn’t it?

We plan for perfection, God plans for special. We plan for prosperity, God plans us for him. We plan for independence, God plans for our dependence. We plan for life, God plans for eternity.

I whispered a quiet, “Thank you, Lord,” and headed downstairs. A basket of laundry, a sink of dishes and a living room of toys pleaded for my talents and my time.

Somehow my legs managed to carry me through the evening. I had just finished cleaning the living room, when a spot on the wall caught my eye. Timidly I scrambled to the broom closet and to the broom.

I began pulling the couch away from the wall, praying I would see no bugs and they would not see me.

My eyes gazed toward the wall and I discovered plots of red dots all over the wall. My hand slowly reached in to touch and I quickly realized it was all Charlie’s leftover bubblegum.

My eyes did a double take as I realized the outline of the bubblegum created a smiley face, a rather large one at that.

I just shrugged at least I knew where all the bubblegum had gone. I stood there for a moment wondering what I should do about the current situation.

I smiled; knowing I’d just ask Charlie in the morning. After all the perfect ingredients for children was a dash of boy, already chewed bubble gum and a plastered smiley faces at least it was for mine

Whoever said children were a blessing sure must’ve met mine. It was bath time yet again and we all knew what that meant.

In the end naked children are meant for bathtubs and bathroom, not flowerbeds and front yards.

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This article has been read 522 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Christine Rhee07/20/07
The paragraph contrasting our plans and God's plans is great!!
Dee Yoder 07/20/07
Oh, so many sweet memories of my own version of Charlie! I enjoyed reading your story very much; it made me smile. :)
dub W07/22/07
What a wonderful story. I'm still smiling. Some comma and semi colon problems, but your theme and story was wonderful. Charlie sounds like my 3 year old grandson.