writing again, for the first time in years

I started writing a short story this week. It’s a story I’ve had working in my head for many years, but I finally started putting it “on paper.” I forgot how freeing and refreshing; how inspiring it is to write. I used to write frequently, almost constantly, but eventually wandered away from it. I’m excited for this story to finally be out of my head and in writing. I know there will be a dozen or so revisions, but I will post it here when it’s finished. I have posted other shorts here, but this one will be a little different. It will be a little deeper, and serious.

Sometimes, I wonder if I missed my calling by not pursuing writing.


Angel Without Wings

Angel Without Wings

I watched you as you slept last night. You were so peaceful, so serene – like an angel. My memory raced back to the day you were born. The image of that fragile little infant is still fresh in my mind. It seems like only yesterday. I remember that tiny baby I cuddled and held all night, that first night. You were so fragile, yet so peaceful. I gazed into those big blue eyes and saw the future, a future as bright and promising as an early spring sunrise.
Honestly, I was scared. I had no idea what to do with a baby. I had no clue how to raise a child. I knew we both had a lot of learning and growing to do – together, and that we would learn from our mistakes along the way. That first year was so amazing. You learned so much. You brought so much joy to my life. There were so many “firsts”: so many things I learned all over again. You taught me things about myself I never knew, and reminded me of the simple things I take for granted every day.
I remember so vividly, the first day I took you to preschool. Between you and me, I think I cried more than you did. I felt so guilty leaving you with strangers. You were so young that you didn’t understand why I had to leave, why you had to stay. All day that day I thought about you and I worried about that experience being so traumatic that it would scar you permanently. We survived, though. You cried even harder when I picked you up that evening. Your teachers assured me you had a good time that day. None the less, you cried almost every time I dropped you off, for the next two years. I hated leaving you, but when I saw all the things you were learning, and how much you loved being in “school,” I knew I had made the right decision.
I still feel guilty when I remember that you took your first steps at school, but I have fond memories of all the times we have run around in the park, and gone for walks looking for spiders and other creepy crawlies.
I don’t remember what your first word was, but you used to say “dada” quite a bit. I remember how special I felt the first time you said, “I love you” to me all on your own. My heart melted.
I will not forget when you were teething. You chewed on anything and everything you could put in your mouth. I knew you were a special child when you insisted on sharing everything you ate – after you had chewed it.
The first time I took you to the beach you looked at me like we had just landed on another planet. That puzzled look is still clear now. You weren’t too sure about all that water, at first, but you showed me your bravery and ran right in.
We had so many happy times and so many times I just wanted to pull my hair out, but we learned – together. The first years of your life have been pure joy, all in all. As I watched you sleep, I realized you are my angel.
We had so many happy times and so many times I just wanted to pull my hair out, but we learned – together. The first years of your life have been pure joy, all in all. As I watched you sleep, I realized you are my angel.
So many of your accomplishments made me sigh with relief. You finally stopped sucking on your pacifier. You were “a big kid now.” You didn’t need it. All on your own, you decided you didn’t need a bottle anymore, either. You wanted a cup so you could drink “like a big kid.” You wanted to eat “big people food” now too. Somewhere along the way, you learned to dress yourself, and choose your own outfits. I didn’t know whether to cheer or cry when you finally stopped using diapers. At that milestone, I thought my baby had grown up and there would be nothing left to celebrate until you lose your first tooth. You once again proved me wrong.
So many times after that, you brought tears of joy to my eyes. You continue to make me proud – everyday. There are things I never realized were such a challenge for you. You simple glowed with pride when you could hang upside down from the monkey bars on the playground of never ending challenges. You learned to play soccer, baseball, and basketball on that very same playground. That baby I had to hold all the time can walk and run and jump, and play, and show me every afternoon, the new feat you have mastered. You can even tie your own shoes all by yourself.
There are no words to explain what I feel when you share your new knowledge and insights with me. No matter how bad my day has been, I know that when I pick you up from preschool, you will have something wonderful to share with me. I’ve looked forward to these new found revelations ever since you learned to talk.
I think my favorite time is when you explain the stories behind your artwork. To the untrained eye, those pictures are merely colorful swirls and shapes, but to me, they are masterpieces created by my very own Picasso. The tales you tell and the stories you create to go along with your illustrations always brighten my afternoons. After the worst day I could possibly have, I always have your adventures to look forward to.
Having you sit in my lap to read books, tell stories, or just having that quiet time alone together is heart warming. I especially like when you read me stories. You are no longer a baby for me to comfort. Somehow almost over night, you grew into my little friend. Now we sit and have discussions about all of the wonderful things in your world, all of your questions, all of the answers you expect me to have. You amaze me with what you know, and what you want to know. Sometimes I wonder if you are smarter than I am. Most of the time, though, I realize that you are merely more aware of this wonderful world that is here for you to conquer.
That day is coming sooner than I choose to admit. These past five years have flown by in the blink of an eye. Though I still see that fragile little infant as I watch you sleep, I also see a child – a child full of love and kindness, full of knowledge, and adventures. A child with so much knowledge left to gain. The time has come for you to move on to bigger and better things. Soon you will be leaving preschool and moving on to kindergarten. My little angel will be spreading his wings and flying.
One night as I sat with you in my lap, I called you my angel. You told me you aren’t an angel because angels have wings. We talked for a long time about angels and what they represent, and in the end, you told me you are my angel – my angel without wings.
Even though sometimes I want time to stand still and I want you to be my baby forever, I know you have to grow up, and be your own person. I thank God for letting me be a part of your life; for letting me learn from you, the importance of the little things I take for granted everyday. I thank him for giving me an angel – an angel without wings.

Frog Level Road

Jan. 3rd, 2004 at 11:36 PM

Off the beaten path, in the back woods of Pitt County, North Carolina lies a not so often traveled stretch of black top named Frog Level Road. This road twists and weaves its way from Highway 903 to Highway 13 through fields of cotton, corn, tobacco, soy beans, and strawberries. There is an occasional intersection, the occasional subdivision, abandoned tobacco barns overgrown with Kudzu vines, and randomly spaced farm houses. It is one of these random farm houses that captured my attention.

This house, so quaint, so picturesque, so beautiful, sits off the road just a bit, but is not set back deep into the fields. There are carefully manicured gardens around the Oaks and Pines in the yard. The front path is lined with flowers and stones leading from the gravel drive way all the way up to the front steps. It is a stereotypical Eastern North Carolina farm house; white, wood, two story, black shutters on all the windows, curtains drawn back to let in the sun, wrap around porch with gingerbread accents,rocking chairs and a swing, black tin roof. Exactly what one would expect to see when driving down through the country on a road like Frog Level Road. Just looking at this house, one could feel the compassion, warmth, and love dwelling there. One could feel the southern hospitality.

This particular morning, the old pick up truck was parked in the driveway. The front door was open, but the storm door was closed, as is typical in these parts. The elderly couple sat on the swing enjoying the warm sunshine peaking through the Oak trees, making odd shapes and shadows on the porch, on the cool autumn morning. He, in his overalls and plaid flannel shirt, reading the newspaper and enjoying his cup of coffee. His white hair barely visible under his cap.

She, next to him in her nondescript light blue dress and white sweater. There was a cat curled up in her lap whom she stroked as she sipped her coffee. At their feel lie a dog, stretched out, soaking in the warmth of the early morning sunshine. There was another dog near lying near the porch steps. These were probably his hunting dogs. Right now, though, they were comfortable on the porch, with their people, hunting sunshine.

I wanted so much to stop; to pull over and capture that moment on film. I didn’t though. I didn’t want to disrupt the serenity, the comfort, the love I could see from the road; from Frog Level Road.