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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)

TITLE: A Strong Example
By Christabelle Allestad
06/10/09


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Worry creased my mother-in-law's face as we exchanged farewells. I longed to unfold them with smooth words of reassurance, but knew such platitudes were no cure for the ache of the soul. What tenderness could dissolve the knowledge that I was taking her grandkids twenty-five hundred miles away? Already the silent echos of the empty playground in the yard rang heavy in my ears. I knew she heard them, too. All the giggles stored up in the cab the truck only to be released in our new place. The dust of the driveway unstirred by speeding wheels and unshod feet, the trikes already tucked under the blue tarp in the trailer.

"Did you tell Velvo you were going to be late?" I asked, noting that it was already past 8:00am.

"Ah...I told her I needed the morning because I was kicking you guys out!"

I chuckled softly. How things had changed in the nine months we had stayed there. How much I had learned from her! When my impatient soul had sought defeat with my children, she had lovingly taken them aside and given them the time to sit mull over what they had done. When my exasperated spirit looked for a way out of teaching my kids to clean up after themselves, she had faithfully come along side them and shown them how to put the peas back on the plate and into the garbage. When my weariness had overcome me and my tongue effervesed with whimpers and whines, I watched her do the dishes, each one cleansed without a word or complaint. The stylus of her example had etched itself on the tablet of my experience until it was her voice I heard as I grasped for patience along with my wayward toddler and her face I saw as I pushed my weary body toward the broom. Inexperience and youthful procrastination had been erased until strength of character could be designed in its place.

I thought of the drive ahead without her and the void intensified. I wasn't sure I was ready to let her go. I squeezed her tight into a hug. My arms lingered long, but the closeness of her being dissipated the inward sadness for one brief instance. Finally, I had to release her. I knew she wouldn't stand for a long goodbye -- too many things to do to give way to grief -- so I pulled together the courage she had shown me, fortitfied in the ability I knew I possessed. I smiled one last time and gave her a wave. Leaving wasn't forever. There would be phone calls and letters, perhaps an email or two. There was sadness, but it was time. I through the truck into gear and slowly tumbled down the driveway with an empty seat beside me, but a full heart within.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke06/11/09
I'm the mom who bade a tearful goodbye to my daughter and 3 precious grandkids a year and half ago. thank you for allowing me a glimpse into the heart of the 'other side' of the story.
great visual descriptions and very heart tugging.