The Day I Was Too Busy
"Mommy, look!" cried my daughter, Darla, pointing to a chicken
hawk soaring through the air.
"Uh huh," I murmured, driving, lost in thought about the tight
schedule of my Day.
Disappointment filled her face. "What's the matter, Sweetheart?"
I asked, entirely dense.
"Nothing," my seven-year-old said. The moment was gone. Near
home, we slowed to search for the albino deer that comes out from behind the thick mass of trees in the early evening. She
was nowhere to be seen.
"Tonight, she has too many things to do," I said.
"Dinner, baths and phone calls filled the hours until bedtime.
"Come on, Darla, time for bed!" She raced past me up the stairs.
Tired, I kissed her on the cheek, said prayers and tucked her in.
"Mom, I forgot to give you something!" she said. My patience
"Give it to me in the morning," I said, but she shook her head.
"You won't have time in the morning!" she retorted.
"I'll take time," I answered defensively. Sometimes no matter
how hard I tried, time flowed through my fingers like sand in an hourglass, never enough. Not enough for her, for my husband,
and definitely not enough for me.
She wasn't ready to give up yet. She wrinkled her freckled little
nose in anger and swiped away her chestnut brown hair.
"No, you won't! It will be just like today when I told you to
look at the hawk. You didn't even listen to what I said."
I was too weary to argue; she hit too close to the truth. "Good
night!" I shut her door with a resounding thud.
Later though, her gray-blue gaze filled my vision as I thought
about how little time we really had until she was grown and gone.
My husband asked, "Why so glum?" I told him.
"Maybe she's not asleep yet. Why don't you check," he said with
all the authority of a parent in the right. I followed his advice, wishing it was my own idea.
I cracked open her door, and the light from the window spilled
over her sleeping form. In her hand I could see the remains of a crumpled paper. Slowly I opened her palm to see what the
item of our disagreement had been.
Tears filled my eyes. She had torn into small pieces a big red
heart with a poem she had written titled, "Why I Love My Mother!"
I carefully removed the tattered pieces. Once the puzzle was
put back into place, I read what she had written:
Why I Love My Mother
Although you're busy, and you work so hard
You always take time to play
I love you Mommy because
I am the biggest part of your busy day!
The words were an arrow straight to the heart. At seven years
old, she had the wisdom of Solomon.
Ten minutes later I carried a tray to her room, with two cups
of hot chocolate with marshmallows and two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When I softly touched her smooth cheek, I could
feel my heart burst with love.
Her thick dark lashes lay like fans against her lids as they
fluttered, awakened from a dreamless sleep, and she looked at the tray.
"What is that for?" she asked, confused by this late-night intrusion.
"This is for you, because you are the most important part of
my busy day!" She smiled and sleepily drank half her cup of chocolate. Then she drifted back to sleep, not really understanding
how strongly I meant what I said.
Do you like my dress? She asked of a passing stranger. My mommy
made it just for me. She said with a tear in her eye.
Well, I think it's very pretty, So tell me little one, Why are
With a quiver in her voice the little girl answered. After Mommy
made me this dress, She had to go away.
Well now, said the lady, With a little girl like you waiting
for her, I'm sure she'll be right back.
No ma'am, you don't understand, Said the child through her tears.
My Daddy said that she's, Up in heaven now with Grandfather.
Finally the woman realized what the child meant, And why she
was crying. Kneeling down she gently cradled the child in her arms, And together they cried for the mommy that was gone.
Then suddenly the little girl did something, That the woman
thought was a bit strange. She stopped crying, Stepped back from the woman and began to sing.
She sang so softly that it was almost a whisper. It was the
sweetest sound the woman had ever heard, Almost like the song of a very small bird.
After the child stopped singing she explained to the lady, My
mommy used to sing that song to me before she went away, And she made me promise to sing it, Whenever I started crying and
it would make me stop. See, she exclaimed, it did, and now my eyes are dry!
As the woman turned to go, The little girl grabbed her by the
sleeve, Lady, can you stay a minute? I want to show you something. Of course, she answered, what do you want me to see?
Pointing to a spot on her dress, she said, Right here is where
my mommy kissed my dress, and here, Pointing to another spot, and here is another kiss, And here and here!
Mommy said that she put all those kisses on my dress, So that
I would have her kisses, For every boo-boo that made me cry.
Then the lady realized that she wasn't just looking at a dress,
No, she was looking at a Mother who knew that she was, Going away and would not be there, To kiss away the hurts that she
knew her daughter would get.
So she took all the love she had for her beautiful little girl,
And put them into this dress that the child so proudly wore. She no longer saw a little girl in a simple dress, She saw a
child wrapped in her Mother's love.
Get a tissue ready
Her hair was up in a pony tail, her favorite dress tied
with a bow. Today was Daddy's Day at school, and she couldn't wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her, that she probably should stay
home. Why the kids might not understand, if she went to school alone.
But she was not afraid; she knew just what to say. What to tell
her classmates of why he wasn't there today.
But still her mother worried, for her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again, she tried to keep her daughter home.
But the little girl went to school, eager to tell them all. About
a dad she never sees, a dad who never calls.
There were daddies along the wall in back, for everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently, anxious in their seats.
One by one the teacher called, a student from the class. To introduce
their daddy, as seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name, every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching, for a man who wasn't there.
"Where's her daddy at?" she heard a boy call out. "She probably
doesn't have one," another student dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back, she heard a daddy say, "Looks
like another deadbeat dad, too busy to waste his day."
The words did not offend her, as she smiled up at her Mom. And
looked back at her teacher, who told her to go on.
And with hands behind her back, slowly she began to speak. And
out from the mouth of a child, came words incredibly unique.
"My Daddy couldn't be here, because he lives so far away. But
I know he wishes he could be, since this is such a special day.
And though you cannot meet him, I wanted you to know. All about
my daddy, and how much he loves me so.
He loved to tell me stories, he taught me to ride my bike. He
surprised me with pink roses, and taught me to fly a kite.
We used to share fudge sundaes, and ice cream in a cone. And
though you cannot see him, I'm not standing here alone.
'Cause my daddy's always with me, even though we are apart I
know because he told me, he'll forever be in my heart"
With that, her little hand reached up, and lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat, beneath her favorite dress.
And from somewhere in the crowd of dads, her mother stood in
tears. Proudly watching her daughter, who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love of a man not in her life. Doing
what was best for her, doing what was right.
And when she dropped her hand back down, staring straight into
the crowd. She finished with a voice so soft, but its message clear and loud.
"I love my daddy very much, he's my shining star. And if he could,
he'd be here, but heaven's just too far.
You see he was a fireman and died just this past year When airplanes
hit the towers and taught Americans to fear.
But sometimes when I close my eyes, it's like he never went away."
And then she closed her eyes, and saw him there that day.
And to her mother's amazement, she witnessed with surprise. A
room full of daddies and children, all starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they saw before them, who knows what they felt
inside. Perhaps for merely a second, they saw him at her side.
"I know you're with me Daddy," to the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers, of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it, for each of their eyes
had been closed. But there on the desk beside her, was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.
And a child was blessed, if only for a moment, by the love of
her shining bright star. And given the gift of believing, that heaven is never too far.