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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Holiday (04/05/12)

TITLE: Bittersweet
By Barbara Mahler
04/11/12


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“Hi, grandma,” my youngest granddaughter squealed when I answered my phone on Easter Sunday afternoon.

I had called earlier in the day and gotten the full story about the Easter bunny’s arrival from six-year old Jane and eleven-year old Tara, and was surprised about the call.

“Grandma, grandma, mommy wants to know if you would like to come for dinner today,” Jane continued excitedly.

My young granddaughter’s excited, happy voice tugged on my heart, but I struggled for words.

“Oh, wow!” I managed to reply.

My thoughts raced with questions and the ramifications of my answer: How will I explain to my friend whose invitation I had accepted weeks ago to join her family for Easter Dinner? Will she understand? Oh, but what will happen if I say no to my daughter’s invitation?

Without further hesitation I said, “Yes, I’d love to…what can I bring?”

Not missing a beat, I heard my young granddaughter ask her mother, “Mommy, grandma wants to know what she can bring.”

“Some cranberry sauce and dessert,” Jane echoed. “Come around 4 – okay Grandma?”

“Yes, sweetheart,” I assured her. “I’ll see you then.”

I had just about two hours to let my friend know that I wouldn’t be coming after all, get to the store before it closed and then make the forty minute drive to my daughter’s home.

My friend was most understanding and even promised to save me a plate for tomorrow.

How blessed I am, I couldn’t help but think as I drove to the store. How grateful I am, too, for wonderful friends.

I wonder what kind of cranberry sauce they would like, I thought to myself. Should I call back and ask? No I’ll just get one of each, I decided. Dessert? Oh, I know.. the store has the best holiday cupcakes – all decorated. “The kids will love them,” I heard myself say aloud hoping no one was close enough to hear my babbling.

When at last I was driving toward my destination I began to reflect on the meaningfulness of what had happened this day. In all the years since Lisa and Jim have been married, this was the first time that I have been invited to their home for a holiday. I’ve always had to wait until after the event to bring presents for my grandchildren – even their birthdays and other special occasions.

It has taken many years for me to become aware that my daughter’s emotional distance has little to do with me – and everything to do with her alcoholic husband. Putting aside my own hurt enables me to reach out to my eldest child. I use every possible opportunity to remind her that she will always be my little girl and that I am still her mother – here, whenever she needs me. Months ago I began to send her “just thinking about you – with love” emails. One day I called and offered to come and take them to the park – “just us girls,” I said thus giving her the excuse she needed to get away for a few hours with her children.

Before I realized it I was pulling up in front of my daughter’s home. I looked up to see my child running alongside her youngest child as Jane learned to ride “on two wheels with no more training wheels.”

How sweet it was to share their joy-filled moments! I couldn’t help but feel the renewal. I now look forward to being invited again and sharing more sweet moments as well as the burden of the sad ones.


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This article has been read 168 times
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/12/12
This brought tears to my eyes. You painted such a bittersweet picture for me. My eldest is getting married soon and I worry about losing my little girl. Deep down I know it won't happen but your words touched my heart.

Tiny red ink -- When using words like Mommy and Grandma, capitalize them when they are being used as a name (lowercase if they have an my or the in front). Also, save exclamation points to show excitement in actual dialog. In narration, let the words you chose show your excitement.

Though several stories have been done about Easter, I still thought you took a fresh take on it. I can't imagine living so close to grandchildren and not seeing them on the holidays. But you showed the correct way to respond, with love and to rejoice in every minute you have together. Nicely done.

Laura Manley04/13/12
I personally have known the horrors of what alcohol can do to a family and this story touched my heart. What a wonderful opening to the beginning of hope in this family, which is just what Easter and the Resurrection gives us. Beautiful story.
CD Swanson 04/13/12
This made my eyes glisten with tears. It was well written and pulled at my heartstrings. God Bless~
Bryan Rudolph04/15/12
Now, that is enjoyable reading, with insight made easy. Saw the throws of your mind wrestling with the likes of cranberry sauce and alcoholism. The kind of needlepoint we all knit in ourselves, and take a lifetime to unwind, to understand the effects.

Well done, please keep writing.
Geoffrey johnstone04/19/12
This is very good.

A lot of people will be able to relate to this story. Every now and then a piece of writing appears that is not only well written but actually helpful.

So thank you, not just for writing this piece, but for the gentle way in which you conveyed it.

Keep writing.
CD Swanson 04/19/12
Congratulations & God Bless~