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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: Findng My Inner Child
By Debbie Roppolo
02/07/06


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“Hey Mommy, got a minute?” my oldest son, Shane pleaded. This had better be good, I thought. I spun the chair around and faced him.

“What do you what?” I kicked myself mentally for being so sharp, but I had a newspaper deadline to meet, and my article was only half done.

“Umm. Do you wanna go outside with me?” I cringed at his poor grammar, but for the moment, decided to let that issue rest.

"Are you kidding?" It's 9:00 at night."

"Yeah, but there's no school tomorrow," he pointed out. "So pleeeeeeeeeaaaaase," he begged, managing to summon tears into his eyes.

He could win an Emmy with this performance, I thought. I could have tortured him by making him wait a few more minutes, but the look in his eyes was too pleading.
I sighed resignly at stared at the half-finished article on the computer screen and the notes scattered haphazardly on my desk. Maybe I could use a break, I mused.

"Okay, you win. Only for a minute though." Together we bundled up and walked outside. A cold blast of air hit me in the face, jump-starting my senses as I stepped outdoors into the winter night. I took a deep breath and exhaled as I looked around, enjoying my surroundings. The lights in the town below twinkled merrily, and there was a contented hush in the neighborhood. A light wind caressed my cheek and rattled the dry native grasses nearby, giving off a parched earthy scent.

Shane and I played a joyful game of tag with the dog until we were breathless. "Whadda wanna do now?" Shane gasped.

I shrugged. "I dunno. You're calling the shots right now. What do you wanna do?"

"Spin in circles!"

I groaned inwardly. I knew what the outcome might be of that, and I didn't really relish saying hello to my supper on the ground. "Aw, come on Mommy. It'll be fun!" Mommy. It won't be too much longer until "Mommy" will sound too childish to him, and he'll want nothing more to do with me. I took a deep breath, and with my arms outstretched from my sides, I began to spin.

"Hey, wait for me!" Shane screeched. Together we twirled down the drive into the night, the hint of a moon the only light to guide us. The stars in the black velvet colored sky shimmered and danced as we twirled faster and faster. Finally, we collapsed into two giggling, dizzy heaps on the lawn. I glanced over at Shane as he lay in the grass and stared at the sky. Chubby cheeks were disappearing, bring replaced by more manly chiseled facial features. A wave of sadness washed over me; my baby was becoming a man before my very eyes. We lay in the grass a few minutes more, talking and stargazing. I didn't want the moment to end. I wanted to remember every expression he made, every thing he said. It became cooler as the hour grew later, and finally we went back inside. I was glade I had gone outside, and even more grateful to my son. For a few fleeting moments, he taught me how to be a child again.


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Jan Ackerson 02/13/06
Very sweet story! Watch for spelling errors, which distracted a little bit. You painted a beautiful word picture of the outside evening. Nicely done.
Betsy Tacchella02/19/06
This was a delightful story. I remember the same kinds of feelings as I raised my son many years ago. You are so wise to set aside whatever you are doing and to seize those moments when your child seeks you out. Bless you. This story touched my heart.