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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: A Forgotten Backpack
By Rita Garcia


The chime of the doorbell, followed by her granddaughter’s voice brought a surge of joy to her, much like the thrill of hearing a bird’s first song in the spring.

“Grandma it’s me, Kali.”

“I’m coming.” She opened the door and found Kali dancing around on the front porch. “What brings you here?”

Kali hugged her grandmother around the waist. “Oh Grandma, you know we’re baking cookies today.”

“It’s great to see my little princess and yes today is cookie making day,” Grandma, laughed and looked up at her son.

“Thank you, Mom. I appreciate your help.” David turned to go back down the steps.

“I’m delighted to have time with my granddaughter.”

The slump in his shoulders filled her with sadness—she prayed that God would bring healing to her son. He could not get past the pain of Kali’s mom dying giving birth to Kali—it was like an infected sore that refused to heal. She reached for her granddaughter. “Lead the way, little one.”

Kali placed her hand in her grandmothers. “What kind of cookie’s are we making?”

“What kind would you like to make?”

“Daddy likes peanut butter cookies, would it be all right if we put chocolate chips in them too?”

“You can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate.” Grandma took two aprons off a hook in the kitchen. “Let’s get started.”

Kali tried to smash the butter, like her grandmother told her. “This butter is too hard.”

“We’ll put in the microwave a few seconds.” Grandma took the plate and placed it in the microwave. “Now it will mix with the sugar.”

“Thank you, Grandma. I wish Daddy’s heart could be soft like the butter.”

Grandma pulled out a kitchen chair and beckoned, kali to her. “Let’s talk about it.
How do you know your Daddy has a hard heart?”

Kali entwined her fingers with one another, as if she was trying to think of the right words. “It’s just…you know.” She shrugged her shoulders.

“No, can you to tell grandma?”

“Its just…well, Daddy is never happy and I don’t think…” Tears welled up in her big blue eyes. “I don’t think he likes me very much.”

Grandma’s heart was breaking. “Of course he loves you. I know he is sad and misses your mommy, but he loves you.”

“No, Grandma, it’s my fault that Mommy went to heaven. If it hadn’t been for me she—she would still be with Daddy.

Grandma and Kali had not heard, David come in. Driving away he had noticed Kali’s backpack, and knew she would need it. He came in through the front door and as he neared the kitchen he heard his daughter’s painful words.

He entered the kitchen and knelt down by his daughter, holding her until the lump in his throat allowed him to speak.

Grandma went into the other room and prayed that God would give her son the words he needed. With tears flowing she listened as she rejoiced in the miracle that God was bring about, right in her kitchen.

“I’m so sorry, Kali, I didn’t know I was making you feel this way. I love you with my whole heart.”

“But…Mommy died because of me.”

“No, honey, Mommy died because God needed her in heaven. I miss your mommy with every breath I take, but I could not have made it through the past six years without you. It’s like she left a piece of herself here for me to love and cherish.”

Kali wrapped her arms around his neck. “I thought you hated me because Mommy went to heaven.” Her tears fell on his shirt.

“Kali, I promise you, from this day forward you will always know how much I love you and how much you mean to me.” He took his daughters hand and went into the front room with his mom.

“Mom, is it okay if I take Kali with me?”

“I think it would be a great idea, we can make cookies another day.” She ran her fingers through, Kali’s hair.

She watched as her son picked Kali up in his arms, she bowed her head as he began to pray. “Dear Father, thank you for Your love, forgive me for allowing my heart to harden towards you and the ones that I love. Thank you for using a forgotten backpack and the words of my daughter to chisel through my heart, and for making my heart a soft and pliable place where Your love can dwell.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Bryan Ridenour05/01/09
I love happy endings...well done.
Lollie Hofer05/05/09
What a lovely story with a wise ol' grandma. Children truly are perceptive and rarely can these type of things not pass unnoticed. Thanks for sharing.
Dan Blankenship 10/19/09
Excellent! Loved it!

May God bless and always keep you writing!

Dan Blankenship