Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)
TITLE: A Daddy's Love
By Beckie Stewart
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Her escape from her childhood home brought responsibilities she hadn’t foreseen. Now she faced life with a new baby. Bill encouraged her to nurse, but Jane found it too hard and uncomfortable. Besides, she anticipated returning to work as soon as possible and despised the idea of being tied down.
She made calls when she arrived home from the hospital. The first brought instant success as her landlady that lived in the apartment below gladly agreed to babysit.
“When are you planning on returning to work,” Bill asked his wife as he reached into the bassinet to pick up his whining daughter.
“I’ll call tomorrow and see.”
“What’s your hurry?”
“Bill, I’m not about to stay at home all day with that baby.”
He cringed as he looked down at his little girl. He had hoped a child would soften his wife’s heart but clearly it hadn’t. He loved his wife but sensed a strong desire to protect his daughter from the harshness of her mother’s words.
“Here,” Jane said as she handed him a bottle. “Feed her before she starts fussing too much.”
He grabbed it, left the kitchen, and sat down in the living room to feed Liz. The baby stared up at him as she drank. He kissed her forehead and whispered that he loved her. Liz drank and drifted into a blissful sleep.
Bill adored his wife, but unfortunately, it never satisfied her. A month short of Liz’ second birthday, the young mother prematurely gave birth to two sons. Sadly, one of the twins died a few hours later. Though his wife seemed to soften toward her new son, she remained hardened toward him.
He cared for the hospital and funeral arrangements for the two little boys who had been fathered by his friend. He named them, and the certificates bore his last name. Bill determined to love his wife and this new little one.
Over the next few months he watched his wife make daily trips to the hospital to love on Jeffrey until he came home. He occasionally heard her cry about Roger. Bill prayed for wisdom as he realized his wife opened her heart to her son alone but continued to build a wall with Liz and him. He felt helpless and many times hopeless.
However, in time Jane returned to work and eventually had him caring for both children while she stayed out late into the evening.
“What’s going on?” He asked her one night.
“What do you mean?”
“Why would a bank require for you to work so many hours past closing?”
“What is that suppose to mean?”
“You know exactly what I mean. I’ve tried, but I’m not about to pay for you to have another man’s baby again. You’re either in this relationship or you’re not, but I’m not doing this anymore.”
“Fine. There’s the door. Take your stuff and get out.”
“I’m taking Liz with me.”
“No, you’re not. You take that child and I’ll call the police.”
“What do you care? I’ve never once seen you hug her. What do you want her for?”
“I do. You can have her on the weekends.”
“Fine for now, but we’ll go to court on this.”
Just as Bill turned to retrieve his belongings, he spotted three-year-old Liz in the doorway with tears.
“No go, daddy. Pwease”
Bill wrapped his arms around Liz and lifted her up. As their cheeks rubbed against each other, every part of Bill’s heart ached.
“Give me my butterfly kiss, Liz. I promise I’ll be back for you.”
“Over my dead body,” Jane shouted.
Bill gave her one last hug and peeled the sobbing child from his leg. He wept all the way to the car as he heard Liz crying hysterically, and his wife screaming, “Shut up!”
“Lord, I need your help. My daughter needs to know my love as well as yours. Help me rescue her from the hardness of her mother, so she might one day have a heart soft toward you and others.”
Peace suddenly filled Bill as he realized somehow the Lord planned on answering this prayer for his precious daughter.
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