The Official Writing Challenge
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As a father of my own Gracie, my heart breaks for both Gracie and her dad. As parents, we know we will make mistakes. It's the big ones we try the hardest to avoid. Nicely crafted story.
Our load in life is much lighter when we throw down the rocks we carry in our bag of bitterness. Those grudges from the past only fester and rob us of the joys we could be having in the present.
Very nicely written. Touching piece. I use to lead two boys scouting groups; Tiger Cubs, Wolves and Bears, for about 7 years, and we use to have a bridge for ceremonies like this. As those little 6 and 7 yr olds, clad in orange hats and orange Tiger shirts, crossed the old rickety wooden structure it showed that they no longer were Tigers, but offically had entered the bigger boys pack and now were actual "cub scouts."

I could relate to Gracie from my own childhood but had to forgive my father long ago and embrace the memories I still have of him. I still cherish them though they are few.
That's why I wanted to make sure I was involved in my kids lives as much as possible. God bless and good job.
This was a cute story, but my heart went out to Gracie for the pain she endured because her father wasn't there for her. This is something that happens all too often nowadays.

The ending took me by surprise, and I wish you could have had more words to transition into the girl's older years, but I think you did a great job with the word count given to you.

Thanks for sharing this with us, Sheri.