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Topic: Doors (04/05/04)
By Donna Anderson
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Once upon an April afternoon when Noni was very young, we were skipping gleefully along the east side of our house toward the backyard gate and detected daddy removing a door that had long since been walled off from the inside. Our fair, freckled princess stopped abruptly, squeezed my fingers and goggled in anticipation. I failed to fully understand her disappointment in finding daddy's greasy, old garage on the other side until several years later. Up til that fateful, spring day, my wee, winsome damsel had imagined the mysterious, white, weathered door leading into a different house. "A secret kitchen, she shuffled and smiled wistfully, with shiny, black and white checkered floors, and nobody knew about it but me!" I remember my heart sinking six fathoms as I witnessed a chapter of her innocent imagination suddenly erased with the pulling out of a handful of rusty, old nails.
Fifteen years later we still live in the same house. There's a timeworn, brown and green shed in our backyard that we converted into a bedroom for Noni. The other day I ventured out to gather her laundry and discovered her doorknob donning a dirty footie. I laughed out loud because I know that she knows that I know that she knows that it would take more than a stinky, grey sock to keep me out of her castle! I left the sock on the knob and later apologized that her highness would have to wash her own dirty clothes because I couldn't get in to her room to retrieve them. I noticed the soiled sock had mysteriously found it's way into the wash that afternoon.
Various family members and friends (with mine and my adolescent daughter's best interests at heart) admonished that I install some sort of alarm to warn me of anyone entering or exiting the yard through the gates on either side of the house. "How can you be certain that Laura (Noni's given name) won't sneak out in the middle of the night, they quipped, or that her friends won't slink in?"
It was a good question and the fact that I hadn't thought of it myself almost had me troubled. But, Laura never caused me much grief, and after a good, long mother-daughter talk (interspersed demonstratively with grossly, detailed death threats) and a prayer or two, we came to an amiable agreement and, by and by, the Princess still lives! (It doesn't hurt to have a German Shepard who sleeps by the back door, wakes at a sigh and barks at her own shadow either).
We've come through many doors together but now that she can reach the handles and knobs by herself, Laura wants to go through them alone. It's hard for me to stay on the inside as my darling Noni crosses the threshold of childhood into a grown-up world full of firey darts and dragons. Her slightly marred imagination is afresh and refined and I pray that the glass slippers she so gracefully wears withstand the enevitable ruts along her journey's road.
My Princess knows she's not alone, for she's passed through the Door, through the Way, through the One who's promised her a richer story than even a princess could ever imagine. The Mystery who hung on an old, weathered cross by a handful of nails and an undying love. And her mother's heart resurfaced and soars in knowing that her Noni' Prince will never disappoint her.