Daddy? The key wonít turn tightly. I tried and tried, but I canít get the skates on tight enough. Iím afraid to stand up. My ankles feel funny. I mean it, Daddy, I canít do it. I canít just roller skate down this old sidewalk like you tell me to. Canít you help me?
Okay, well, Iím gonna try on my own. Here I go. See, I told you I couldnít. Donít go inside and leave me out here. Iím sorry. Hey, maybe it wasnít me; maybe it was the sidewalk. Look at all these cracks, anyone would fall down, Daaaady, Iím sorry, Iím sorry ...
Dad? I know youíre upset. I really tried hard. I did the best I could. But look ... I got Aís and Bís in everything else. No Please donít make me stay in all weekend. Itís Senior weekend We were all going to the beach, itís been planned for months. Iím sorry. Iíll try harder with my school work, I promise. Dad, donít walk away ... Dad ....
I canít walk down that aisle. My knees will buckle. Maybe I didnít make the right decision. What if I really donít love him? Iím too young to get married. The organ is starting. Daddy, hold my arm, Iím so scared. Here we go, here we go ... Daddy, are you proud of me now?
Joan placed her palms against her ears. Make it stop. The memories spun in her mind over and over again. She slid out from under the flowered comforter and let it fall to the hardwood floor beside the bed. Standing in front of the mirror, she examined herself, swiped at the corners of her eyes and began to brush out her matted hair. She licked the moisture off her upper lip and tried to rid herself of a bad nightís sleep and the old disturbing dreams by punishing the damp tendrils with her brush. She remembered the tears of regret at her Dadís funeral. Sheíd loved him dearly, but had always been uncertain of his love for her. She had stood by the casket with Ed and woodenly greeted relatives. At least Daddy had not been around to witness her marriage dissolve. Ed had found someone who could please him better than she had. It had seemed nothing was never enough, just like with her Dad. Sighing, she wondered if there would come a time when she stopped doubting herself. I just want to accomplish something good in my life.
ďMommy, get up. Iíve got a surprise for you Ē
Joanís heart hugged her whole body as six year old Haley pushed the door open with her backside and walked through carrying a tray. Oh, how she can change my mood in an instant.
ď Ta-da! I made you breakfast, Mommy.Ē Haley announced her surprise feat with pomp and just the right amount of circumstance. ďOh, but I couldnít spread the peanut butter on very good. Itís all gloppy and it tore holes in the bread. Sorry.Ē
ďGet over here, my fairy princess. I need to get you all gloppy with kisses. Listen, my little daughter, You tried your very best and everything doesnít always have to come out perfect, does it? What is perfect is the love you showed me and Iím so proud of you.Ē
ďI know, mommy, youíre always proud of me. Tomorrow Iím gonna make another breakfast for you, even more gooder than this one. And I bet I learn how to spread peanut butter better when I get seven.Ē
ďI know you will, Haley. Weíve got to get you off to school and Iíve got lots of things to do today, so ...Ē
ďI know, Mommy, I know ... we need to ask God to help us first, donít we?Ē
The warm comforter felt assuring as she wrapped it around their shoulders. Four knees touched the hardwood floor as they knelt to say their morning prayers.
Later, Joan watched her daughter skip happily from the car to her friends in the schoolyard. Haleyís golden braids were flying as she twirled and laughed with a certainty and a panache Joan knew she never had at that age. What joy!
ďGuess what I did, guys I made my mom breakfast. And you know what? Gloppy is okay.
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