“That’s you and that’s me.”
It was a beautiful day. A day where the Creator’s love was proclaimed in every masterful brush stroke: in the mountain that rose strong and proud against a hazy blue sky; in the drone of the bees as they moved drunkenly from bloom to bloom; in the flowers that peeped through fences, releasing their sweet scent; in the birds and the bees that flirted shamelessly from above their heads; and in the river as it lingered lazily beneath drooping willows.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.* Madi smiled inwardly as she walked home from Kindergarten with her daughter. How often had her mother quoted that verse? Oh how she would love to hear her say it one more time!
“You’ve got purple hair ‘cause we didn’t have any brown paint.”
Madi looked down at the painting that Amanda held out to her. Against the white page stood two figures: one small with yellow hair, the other tall and skinny and sporting purple hair.
“It’s beautiful, sweetheart. Just like you.”
It was true. Complete strangers would stop her in the street and remark on her daughter’s beauty. It was such an incident that had triggered the argument on that fatal night so many years ago and brought her marriage to a violent end. The memory still brought pain. Thankfully Amanda had inherited her father’s good looks but none of his nature.
“Why can’t I have a daddy?”
Oh no, not now. I’m not ready to explain. She’d heard through friends that Damien had moved overseas. There’d even been rumours of another child although there had never been any mention of marriage despite the divorce becoming final almost two years ago.
“Rachael has two daddies, and Olivia has three. But I don’t have any.”
Madi looked at her child’s downcast face and wanted to cry.
“Couldn’t you find me a daddy?”
Well-meaning friends had told her that she was free to marry again. In fact, had even implied that she should. She knew what the Bible said about marriage and divorce. She knew Damien had broken his marriage vows many times during their marriage, but still she couldn’t shake the feeling that marriage was for life. Until death us do part. It didn’t matter that he hadn’t kept his side of the bargain – she still felt married. Despite that night. Despite the divorce.
Madeline knew there were men willing to take Damien’s place but Madi wasn’t ready to trust again. Damien had seemed so perfect. Who was to say that someone else wouldn’t turn out the same?
“We’re having a fathers' day at Kindy and all my friends are inviting their daddies. Rachael said both her daddies will come even though they always yell at each other.”
Ah. At least she now understood what had triggered the question.
“You could ask grandpa.”
“But grandpa’s old. Everyone else’s daddy is young. I want a young daddy.”
Madi’s heart ached at her child’s thoughtlessness. Over the years her father had stood in many times as a substitute father for Amanda - especially after Madi’s mother had died. And he wasn’t old – not really. Although she could understand that he might appear old to Amanda.
“Could I ask Uncle David?”
Madi closed her eyes and breathed deeply. “Uncle” David was Damien’s cousin. He’d been on duty the day Damien had uplifted Amanda from the daycare centre. He’d been understanding and supportive that day and then later through the court case and the custody battle. As a police officer he had understood a lot of the legal jargon and, more importantly, had provided a link between Amanda and her father’s family.
“You could ask Uncle David.”
No she didn’t want to ask David. With a woman’s intuition she suspected he now wanted more than she was prepared to give. Would he misunderstand?
“I’ll think about it.”
Amanda placed her hand in Madi’s. “Can we go to grandpa’s for lunch? He’s the bestest grandpa. Do you like grandpa?”
Madi looked down at her daughter and smiled. Beauty for ashes.** She remembered how years ago God had spoken those words directly into her heart. He had been faithful and had kept His promise. Where once there had been only heartache and shattered dreams, now there was beauty and hope.
She squeezed her daughter’s hand. “Yes, honey, I like grandpa. I think he’s the bestest too.”
* Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV
** Isaiah 61:3 KJV
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