Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Mothers (05/02/05)
TITLE: Slipping Through My Fingers
By Nancy Hardy
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Lately, the only time I have with my daughter is in the wee hours of the morning as I watch the sleeping child bathed in moonbeams and pixie dust. The stars paling as her deep brown eyes twinkle with realization that I am in the room; only to soon be shadowed by the heaviness of sleep - the gentle smile, never leaving her beautiful face.
I run my hand over her downy head and whisper, “What goes on in that little head of yours? Do you miss me, when I don’t see you for days and only have time for a quick kiss and a short bedtime story? You never complain sweet girl, but what, oh what, is it that you think about until your eyes give way to sleep? Annie, my big, little girl, you have had to grow up so fast.”
I hear the hall clock chime the sixth hour. Once again, I’ve stayed up all night on a pointless mission to answer unanswerable questions. Today’s schedule is packed. An early meeting leaves me no time for the cuddle I want so much to give her. Reluctantly I rouse my sleeping beauty, rushing her through the morning’s activities.
While preparing a quick breakfast, we say little to one another. As I hand her a bowl of cereal, I pause - what is the look in her eyes? Is it hope, maybe expectancy? The gaze is fleeting - offering a sad smile just before digging into the multi-colored rings, floating on their sea of white.
There is an overwhelming desire to stop the world long enough to, at least, see my only daughter grow up. There is a need to pause life and keep time from stealing what is the most precious thing in my life… Annie.
I stand at the window watching the little girl laden with school books, lunch box, and an absent minded smile begin her trek to Miller Elementary School. I let my palm rest upon the beveled glass - its coolness ceasing the trembling of my hand. Bravely, I waved good-bye. The realization comes so suddenly, that an involuntary gasp echoes through my reality - unveiling my heart, providing the truth she is … slipping through my fingers.
I dash to the door taking the steps two at a time, trying to reach her before she get onto the bus. I pick her up and spin her around until we are both dizzy and the onlookers think I’ve gone crazy. It is then she knows I have grasped her slipping fingers and am pulling time back together. She buries her head into my shoulder and begs me to never let go.
“Not a chance babe, not a chance. How ‘bout we go to the park?”
“I bet I can swing higher than you,” she cheekily boasts. Grabbing my hand in her tiny one, she pulls me in the direction of the swings and back to that place where everything matters.</P>
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