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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)

TITLE: The Day Dad Drowned the Daffodils
By Angela M. Baker-Bridge


“Joe, Joe, wake-up.”

“Why? The alarm didn’t ring.”

“I think I’m in labor.”

“You think, and you’re waking me? When you know, get me up, until then, let me sleep. I didn’t sleep all night; it’s an oven in here, besides getting home late from your cousin’s party. I’m the one who has to work all day if you don’t have the baby. Go back to sleep.”

“And if I am having the baby, I’m the only one working today.”

Turning away from my husband, my tears flowed. I can’t believe him. Like I didn’t toss and turn all night with the heat, and this belly? He wants sympathy from me? We agreed to wait seven years before having kids, not thirteen months after the wedding. Yikes, the party... the book said they’ll need to know what I ate last, and when. Doc wanted me to watch my weight, how do I tell him I ate cake and ice cream after 11pm?

“J-o-e! O-h-h-h-h-h, n-o-o-o-o-o. Joe, that was sharper than the last one. I can’t do this. I want a c-section. How long since the first pain?”

“I don’t know, remember, I was trying to sleep? Look, why don’t you wake-up your mother. Wasn’t that the point of moving here for the summer? To be with your family when you had the baby? If this is it, wake me when you’re ready to go to the hospital.”

Hurt, confused, and frustrated, I got out of bed. “You’re unbelievable, Joseph.”

I stood in the hallway, unsure what to do. Finally, I tapped softly on my parent’s bedroom door. Inside their room, I heard stirring. “Who is it?” Mom asked.

“It’s Katie. Mom, can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Katie? What time is it?”

“Almost 6am.”

The door opened slowly. Mom slipped out quietly, signaling me not to wake-up my father. She waited until we were away from the door before whispering, “Are you alright?”

“I don’t know. It could be gas, I really pigged-out last night, or maybe the baby’s a week early.”

Just then, I reached for the wall with one hand, as the other one hugged my watermelon shaped belly. “O-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h!” I tried to keep my voice down and my body up. My legs felt weak, my knees buckled. Mom wrapped her arm around me. Once I caught my breath, we slowly walked to the living room. The couch was almost in reach as we heard my dad walking down the hallway.

“Katie, what’s going on?”

“Nothing,” Mom answered. “Go back to bed.”

“Don’t tell me to go to bed if something’s wrong with my daughter. And where is Joe?”

“He’s sleeping, Dad. I don’t know for sure, it could be labor, I just wanted Mom’s opinion...”

As I doubled over again, Dad retreated to his room. Before we realized he’d left, he returned fully dressed, car-keys in hand.

“Dad, we didn’t even call the doctor yet!”

“Your mother can call while I put your suitcase in the car. It’s up to you if you get Joe up or not. With all five of you kids, I never left your mother.”

“Hon,” Mom looked at him disapprovingly, “the hospital is two miles away. They won’t want her there yet, and she doesn’t need you getting worked up. Go water the garden.”

Dad hesitated, looked at me emotionally, and then headed for the front door as my 19-year-old brother entered the living room. “Is she having the baby?” he nervously asked my mother.

“Probably. Sit with her while I call the doctor.”

While she dialed the phone, my younger sisters started coming down the hallway. “Is this it? Is the baby really coming? Cool!” They were 11, 13, and 18 years old.

My answer wasn’t in words, but in moaning and shrieks. My brother bolted out of the room, the girls followed him. Dad ran in the house, Mom signaled him to go back outside again.

Within forty-five minutes, my labor pains were three minutes apart. Dad had been outside a dozen times. Through the bay window, I had watched him pace, repeatedly watering the garden. My brother and sisters whispered while eating in the kitchen. Mom called Joe. He was ready in two minutes.

Driving to the hospital, Joe cracked jokes, Dad simmered. Later I learned Joe slept in the waiting room, Dad paced. Two men, each loved their children, yet showed it differently.

They say women marry men like their dads, I didn’t.

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This article has been read 792 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chely Roach04/17/08
Oooo, great last line! The title fit nicely, too. Good job.
Beth LaBuff 04/20/08
Great alliteration in your title! I had to smile at your "cake and ice cream after 11pm." You did a great job of describing the excitement of your family over the baby's expected arrival. I loved the ending, "Joe cracked jokes, Dad simmered." Your MC was so wise to not expect her husband to be exactly like her dad. This was so much fun to read.
Janice Cartwright04/21/08
Am I the only reader who felt like hitting Joe with a pillow? I think you did a remarkable job invoking emotion in your reader with the frustration and hurt of your mc. The dad is like mine, except mine would have had me in that car.

You may get this comment twice or not at all. The submit button took me to the home page of faithwriters and I didn't copy before hand.

Jan Ackerson 04/21/08
Great title--I love a title with alliteration, and this one is also rich in inference.

This is a very good story; the only thing that distracted me a bit was several hyphenated words that didn't need hyphens. But that's so minor--this is a very strong story.
Gregory Kane04/21/08
What struck me about this piece was how well the dialogue was scripted. Just enough citations to make it clear but enough jumping around to convey the sense of panic. Excellent.
Joanney Uthe04/21/08
Great job showing the contrast between the two dads. Yes, I wanted to hit Joe with the pillow -- or something harder, especially when he suggested waking her parents instead of him.

The title was well explained in the story, but still added to it. Awesome job.
Debbie Wistrom04/21/08
If I could wait till weds and right like this I'd jump and shout. I liked everthing about this. What a dad!
dub W04/21/08
This is good, very well written, enough overriding wit to keep it flowing. The last like was the clincher. Thanks.
Betty Castleberry04/21/08
I would have bopped Joe! You related his insensitivity very well.
I enjoyed this.
Dee Yoder 04/22/08
That Joe...but I suppose someone had to be the calm one (just didn't expect it to be the father!). Good story-very nice dialogue, too, and I love the title.
Mandy White04/23/08
This was so fun! Love, love your title. Thanks!
Marlene Austin04/23/08
Loved the dialog of your dad: “Your mother can call while I put your suitcase in the car. It’s up to you if you get Joe up or not. With all five of you kids, I never left your mother.”
Really shows the relationship there, which I would expect to be quite common for fathers after only 13 months of their daughter's marriage. :)
Good job recalling those events.
Joshua Janoski04/23/08
I was engaged the entire time while reading this well written story.

I agree with everyone else that the last line was the clincher.

I appreciate you sharing your story. Your father sounds like a great man.
Joanne Sher 04/23/08
SUPER title, Angel - and an excellent job of showing the contrast between the two. Love that last line.
Joy Faire Stewart04/23/08
Excellent story and love the humor.
Loren T. Lowery04/23/08
Yeah, I thought Joe was bit of a cad, too. What kind of memories does that leave everyone with? I really liked the way you were able to weave so many emotions into this piece all the way from mom, dad, brother and sister and even Joe - all so well done and believable. I liked, too, how level-headed mom was through out the ordeal. Great job and wonderful title...so fitting.
Sheri Gordon04/23/08
Very good story. I wanted to slap Joe from the first sentence. You "showed" Dad's character very well. Nice job with the topic.
Sara Harricharan 04/23/08
oooh! I wanted to 'whack' Joe. lol. You did so well with their characters and especially the title and the last line. That brought a smile for me. Very well done-I enjoyed the read! ^_^
LaNaye Perkins04/23/08
I really liked your story, and I really wanted to smack Joe upside the head. LOL. Your story kept me interested all the way through. Great writing!
Betsy Markman04/24/08
I enjoyed this one very much. The title was irresistible, and I really like the parents of the main character. I got frustrated with the hubby, though...
Well-written and believable.
Julie Arduini04/26/08
Great title and really strong writing. This showed great family dynamics and the last line was awesome. I really enjoyed the whole thing!