Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: FAMILY (01/21/16)
TITLE: Pineapple and the Pink Tutu
By Belinda Peoples
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‘“Pineapple”…’ Liz repeated, amused by her brother’s surprise. She was elbow deep in pink cotton candy coloured frosting, trying to quickly finish decorating a birthday cake for her daughter, Sammy. Liz was certain she’d covered herself more thoroughly with frosting than she had the cake. She’d have to go upstairs in a minute to clean up before the rest of the family arrived.
‘Then it’s just as well she’s only naming the dog. Don’t ask her to name the baby!’ Ben laughed. ‘How on earth did she decide on “Pineapple”?’
Liz hid her smile from Ben. He didn’t know she had already chosen to name the new baby after him.
‘She was eating pineapple and noticed her puppy was the same colour. There…finished.’ Liz gave one last flourish of the spatula over the cake and stood back, admiring her handy-work. It wasn’t fabulous, but it would do.
Ben rose from the table, chuckling afresh at the adorable logic of his much-loved five year old niece.
‘I’d better go say “hi” to the birthday girl’ he said as he left the room.
Liz followed Ben into the front lounge, wiping her hands on the ruffled hem of the apron she was wearing. Not usually one to wear an apron, she always made an exception to this rule if her mother was visiting. After fruitlessly harping on for years about wearing one, her mother had finally bought her an apron, two birthdays ago, in exasperation.
Today, Liz had to admit, wearing the apron was paying off. Her ballooning baby bump had attracted a significant amount of frosting, and her mother was just walking in the front door.
‘Hi Mum, come in.’ Liz said, hastening across the room to hold the door open for her mother. As usual, Stella was laden with too many bags, filled to overflowing with gifts, ready to spoil her only grandchild.
‘Hello darling. How are you both?’ Stella stopped, only halfway through the door, and looked Liz square in the face. She appraised her daughter’s well-being without waiting for her answer. Eyebrows slightly furrowed, as they had been every time she’d asked this question in the last seven months, Stella’s expression betrayed the ever-present worry she felt for her daughter.
‘I’m fine, we’re both fine, just a bit tired’ Liz replied, giving her mother a kiss on the cheek. ‘Come in, Sammy’s dying to show you her new puppy.’
Stella came in and put her bags next to the lounge. She turned towards Sammy and Ben, who was struggling to restrain Pineapple from excitedly licking him all over his face.
‘Oh my giddy aunt!’ Stella exclaimed in mock surprise. ‘What do we have here? And what are you wearing Sammy?!’
‘It’s Pineapple, my new puppy, Granny’ sang Sammy’s songbird voice, sweet as honey. ‘I’m wearing my pink tutu, for my party!’
‘Pineapple and a pink tutu!’ Stella proclaimed, shaking her head in jest. She smiled at Liz, who laughed, still standing at the door.
‘You should sit and rest for five minutes. I’ll help you finish getting things ready.’
This advice was too good to pass up. Liz suddenly felt the eight months pregnant she was. She shut the front door and lowered herself carefully into the nearest armchair, reclining it so she could elevate her swollen feet.
Drinking in the precious scene in front of her, Liz’s heart swelled with love for her mother, brother and daughter. Resting her hand over her belly, Liz felt the littlest person she loved, even though she had not yet met him. It wouldn’t be long now until she did.
The thought filled her with excitement and sadness. There was one more person she both loved and missed dearly. At times, it was still unbearable. She’d lost her husband, Will, seven months ago just after discovering she was pregnant.
Since then Liz had come to rely on the three people before her. When her faith and strength failed, they held her, carrying her gently through the hurt. She silently thanked God that they had loved her graciously, with the tender love of Jesus.
Liz knew today would bring laughter and pain, but she thanked God again, this time for the simple pleasure of Pineapple and the pink tutu. Through them she knew God would give her the gift of new memories yet to be made and the promise of happiness in her life once more.
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