The six year old girl sat carefully down on the stoop outside her front door dressed in her red smocked dress with a peter pan color and oxford shoes on a hot summer day. She began to finger the lace around the ankle of her socks, "I will not move from these steps until she comes back for me." Noone knows she's outside or has asked what she is thinking. "She will come back for me. She always has."
Her grandmother, Eeddie, had lived with her since before she was born. Eeddie bathed her, brushed her hair, sang to her, followed her about as a toddler, pushed her on the swing, made snow icecream with her, played with her, fed her comfort food, picked locusts and grass from her clothes, cooled her with the hose, taught her life lessons about sisters and dead animals, snuggled with her in bed until she fell asleep. The sacred bond between child and loving adult wrapped tightly around the two beings. As any caregiver, Eeddie was the center of this child's world, and suddenly this world was changing. Eeddie married and was moving two and a half hours away to a new town. So, this small girl's universe and it's order shattered as her grandmother's wood stained station wagon pulled away from the curb.
The girl remained on the steps. How does a child express grief and loss? Tears didn't touch the depth of pain now present in this child. The adults around her now believed she, like any child was resiliant. Now looking back from an adult's perspective, she knows her grandmother needed to make her own life. However, the child did not have the advantage of an adult perspective and was caught in a web of hurt completely beyond her control.
How long is forever? The child stayed on the warm cement for just that long. She doesn't really remember what made her move or why. Was it someone calling for dinner? Did she grow to tired, bored, and simply forget her vow? Did she figure out her grandmother would not be coming back after all? Even after she left her spot, the pain remained in her chest. She carried it with her into adulthood.
Until one day, she visited that quiet moment in her memory thirty-two years later. She sought guidance to heal the broken place in her heart. Divine help through praying, forgiving, considering the circumstances still left a void within her. An new inspiration came in the form of thoughts, "What if I take my Creator to that moment with me?" The Creator whispered back, "How about you take your thirty-eight year old self to that child. You know what she needs most." Ohhh! The woman slowly made her way to her present day porch. She was wearing her favorite grey jeans with big pockets on the legs, a wildly colored hip shirt, and comfy clogs on her feet. She awkwardly made her way down to a seated position with legs stretched out on the only step from porch to sidewalk. She crossed on leg over the other. She's much larger than a child now. She tightly closes her eyes and looks into her mind's eye. She sees the little girl close the glass front door of the house from the past and sit silently on the stoop. The woman pauses to watch the girl for some time. She's a beautiful little thing- golden ringlets of curls flow down her neck to the collar of her red dress. Her skinny yet delicate legs and arms met at her chest in her seated position, and she stroked the edge of her sock. The child looked up as the woman makes her way down the sidewalk from long ago. The girl instantly recognizes the lady's blue eyes. The woman places herself next to the child. They do not speak, and they both fix their eyes on the trellis of flowers across from them in the neighbors yard. Passion flowers grow up the structure. As a child, they believed this flower was a treasure noone else on earth had ever seen before. They believed it was the only plant of its kind, and they had discovered it by miracle on an exploring childhood day. The woman broke her gaze from the purple burst of wonder and touched the child's hair. She then wrapped her wildly colored sleeved arms entirely around the girl. The child pressed her face into the woman's breast, and together they began to softly cry. They joined in a singular thought, "Grammaw." The child finds comfort at long last," This woman will be with me, beside me for all my days. She knows me, she loves me, just as I need to be loved. " True inner healing took place in the woman and the girl.
Today I take my four-year-old daughter upon my lap on my front porch stoop. She's snuggles close to me, legs dangling, and leans forward to kiss me. "Do you see the butterfly on that flower, Mommy?" What will break her heart? What events will or have caused her deep sorrow?
I promise to always meet her on the steps and love her as best I can.
The Minister Who Invented Camping in America - William H. H. Murray was a wealthy Congregationalist minister and an outdoors enthusiast. Every summer he went to the Adirondack Mountains, often with hi...
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