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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Blue (10/08/09)

TITLE: What the Blue Family Has
By Amy Michelle Wiley


I jolted awake, finding myself staring into round eyes and chubby cheeks dimpled by a huge grin. I found a smile of my own slipping unbidden through my sleepy fog.

“What we gonna do t’day?” Micah landed on the bed with a bounce.

“Honey, you know I have to go to work.” I rubbed my eyes and felt the familiar stab of guilt. Oh, why did I have to leave him all day?

“After! What we do after?”

I sat up and groaned. “What do you want to do?”

He lit up. “Park!”

“OK, then.”

I tousled Micah’s hair and went to brush my teeth, feeling a rush of gratitude so strong I almost choked on the toothpaste. He was the only one who could get me out of bed, get me through the work day.

I spit out the foam and gave him a mischievous rabies grin. He laughed out loud, splattering his own toothpaste all over the mirror. I felt like my love could well up and splatter just as far. I glanced at the little guy. Was love enough? Would it take the place of so much lack?

I watched him rinse his mouth out and felt the guilt. He deserved better than this. He deserved a dad… and a mom who could stay home with him while he was still a toddler. A mom who wasn’t so wrapped in depression she could barely flip burgers.

I held his hand tightly as we walked to the car, and again as we entered the daycare. I didn’t want to let go. He was so little. So tiny to be left behind.

I cried as I left, and struggled not to cry throughout the day as I worked. My brain spun, cycling through grief and gratefulness in an agony that moved as slowly as the clock hands.

Finally I rushed to retrieve Micah. We stopped at the house for a snack and a ball, then headed down the cul-de-sac. The beach ball was bigger than he was, so I balanced the blue orb on my head to make him giggle.

“Mommy!” Micah pointed. “Look, the blue fam’ly.”

A family with a whole herd of milling kids came from the newer end of the neighborhood. It wasn’t hard to see why Micah had dubbed them such. Their house was a brilliant blue, and they were all wearing blue denim.

By the time we reached the park, the other family had already started a lively game of catch, punctuated by peels of laughter. They looked just right. Just like a real family should.

“Mommy.” Micah tugged on my sleeve. “They’re happy, Mommy.”

I felt a pang. Did their house really have no screaming, no yells of frustration, anger? Surely that couldn’t be possible. Yet… every time I’d met them, every time I’d seen them interact, I could feel something different.

“They’re happy at home, too.” It was as though the child could read my mind. “I seen ‘em. T’rough the winda. I seen ‘em smiling. Singing even.” He looked up at me, his eyes wide.

I didn’t scold him for spying. I only touched his head and wondered what it could be like to be rid of the guilt. To be content.

“Hey.” We turned and found a young blue-clad boy holding out a smaller ball. “Wanna play?”

Micah was in the middle of the melee in an instant, jostling with the dad, jumping for the ball.

The mom walked up and smiled, holding a baby wrapped in a blanket of the ever-present blue. “You live around the corner from us, don’t you? I’m Sarah.”

“Yes.” I found a smile somewhere, and pasted it on, suddenly feeling worn and frazzled. “I’m Robin.” I looked at her in curiosity. There was a stain on her shoulder, and her hair was a bit mussed, but she nearly radiated peace. “How do you do it? So many kids?” My words tumbled out, unbidden. “I’ve only got the one and I can barely make it through the day. I do everything wrong and my house is a mess, and…” I turned away, ashamed of my outburst.

But she touched my shoulder. “You’re doing good, Robin. You might not be able to give him everything, but you give him the important thing—yourself.”

I couldn’t keep the tears from flowing. “How do you stay so…”

“Come sit down.” Her smile reached all the way to her eyes. “I’ll tell you all about Him.”

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This article has been read 861 times
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Charla Diehl 10/19/09
There are so many single moms today that this story will speak to--letting them know that they're not alone. Hope they all find neighbors like your MC did. Loved the ending sentence as it points the reader towards hope for better tomorrows.
You did a great job with the mood of your characters, the flow and summing it up so gracefully.
Maria Kana Santos10/20/09
Beautiful! I loved the example of real peace and joy the Blue family has.

I also liked the way you wrote about Robyn's conscience and her mother-love for her precious little one. Thank GOD that God's gift to us, mothers, of the mind, soul, heart and strength are there to give to our God-given children. Most importantly to give to our Heavenly Father.

Leah Nichols 10/20/09
I like this one! Very pleasant read.
Sara Harricharan 10/20/09
Love the happy ending here, it makes a good read before bedtime. I like the thought of a "blue family" though, lol, blue house and blue denim, certainly paints a vibrant picture! ^_^
Sarah Elisabeth 10/20/09
Wow, how did you manage so much in so short a story! This is very, very good, enjoyed it so much!

eh-hum, the Blue family wouldn't happen to be homeschoolers, would they? blue demin, brings back memories! lol
Perfect ending!
Mona Purvis10/20/09
While reading this story a certain family who are friends of ours came to mind. They have 9 children with the oldest being 12. Some really do seem to know how to devote themselves in a special way. But, I just love your MC...her heart.
Kate Oliver Webb 10/20/09
The story drew me in from the first sentence. You set the scenes beautifully - I was able to "see" both the mom and the boy, and watch the Blue Family as they frolicked. Thanks for making it so real!
Catrina Bradley 10/20/09
This story flows beautifully. Robin has such depth - amazing writing.
Dee Yoder 10/20/09
I love Robin...she may be an imperfect mom, but her heart is so tender. This is a great story and it really drew me in. I didn't notice any lack because of word "chopping" at all!
Patricia Turner10/21/09
I could really feel for Robin and her sense of guilt. So many working moms have been there too saying I can't. Yes, the Blue family should be in every neighborhood for such as these. Very nicely written.
Laury Hubrich 10/21/09
I like this story. Being a single mom is very hard. You've created very believable characters.
Jan Ackerson 10/21/09
I'll admit that, as a working mother (whose children turned out beautifully), this one raised my defensive hackles for a moment. I'm so glad that you portrayed the relationship between your MC and Micah as loving and healthy. I had a teeny problem with your last line--since your MC can't hear the capitalized "Him", she wouldn't know who the Blue girl was talking about, as your readers do.

Excellent characterization of both characters, very good dialogue, and a compelling read.
Joshua Janoski10/26/09
My guess is that the Blue family goes through just as many struggles, but they know who to turn to when things get tough.

This was a sweet story. I loved Micah. Such a cute kid. Thanks for sharing this, Amy. :)