Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)
TITLE: Catch Me!
By Ruth Neilson
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“Mr. Longhair, I’m sorry—we did everything we could do, but we couldn’t save her.”
“What about the baby?”
“There is a chance that we can save it, but...”
“Do it! I don’t care the odds, just try and save my baby’s life.”
Fragile fingers grasped his as her small mouth brought live-giving oxygen into her delicate body. Danny cradled his miracle daughter, running a gentle finger over her cheek.
“Keep fighting, Debbie,” he whispered, leaning back in the rocking chair and closing his eyes.
The sound of his daughter continuing to breathe combined with the soft beeping monitors lulled him to sleep.
“Catch me, Daddy!” She called before leaping off a tree branch.
Danny laughed and caught his little girl, swinging her through the air and grinning at her loud giggles.
She pressed her small lips against his cheek and whispered. “I love you daddy.”
It was a bittersweet moment when Danny had to leave. Even with donated sick and personal leave, he had to return to work. With a gentle practice, he eased her back into the incubator and watched the nurses flutter around Debbie once again.
“Don’t worry, Mr. Longhair, she’s in good hands. We’ll call if something happens.”
Danny nodded and shook the doctors’ and nurses’ hands once again. There was nothing else he could do other then wait and pray. He could only hope that the small glimpse of what could be would become true.
Still seemingly fragile legs pumped as Debbie began to fly through the air on the swing. Danny smiled as he watched her from the bench near by. Her dark hair was streaming behind her in a ponytail. Debbie giggled.
“Catch me, Daddy!” she called and Danny laughed as he got to his feet and walked in front of the swings.
“Okay, Sweetie, I’m here. I won’t let you fall!” Danny called as she flew through the air, and straight into his arms.
Dr. Conner smiled as he shook Danny’s hand. “Congratulations. Debbie gets to go home today. She’s doing everything that she should be doing—and thriving.”
Danny felt the smile on his face widen as he impulsively hugged Debbie’s doctor. “You couldn’t have told me anything better than that.”
Debbie was swaddled in a pink blanket carefully placed in his arms and Danny whispered. “I’ll always catch you.”
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