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The Favorite Place
I woke up Saturday morning like I did every other weekend day. I walked to my kitchen to get a cup of coffee and start breakfast. While the stove warmed, I turned the TV to Saturday morning cartoons. Zarah, hearing the noise, woke up shortly after.
“Kim Possible!” She exclaimed in her squeaky four-year-old voice. Zarah ran and jumped on the island stool to get a better look. She smiled as I set a pancake with strawberries down in front of her. “What we gonna do today mama?” She said with a mouthful.
“Whataya want to do child?” I yawned.
“Let’s do something fun”, she said with her blue eyes glued to the screen. “Let’s call Daddy!”
She didn't understand that we couldn't just call daddy whenever we wanted. She missed him, and I did too. Zaine had been overseas for the past 8 months, and she wasn't understanding. “Let’s go somewhere to play. Like how about that ball pit?”
“BALL PIT!” she exclaimed with excitement. “I’ll go get dressed.” With that, she jumped down and ran to her room. She returned with her shirt backwards and inside out, not even close to matching her pants, and her brown short hair a tangled mess. “Ready!”
I fixed her hair and shirt and asked, “Why this shirt with these pants. It doesn't match.”
“This is my favorite pants. And this is Daddy’s favorite shirt. So I can be both our favorites.” With that, I felt a surge of proudness.
“Okay,” I smiled. “Let me go get dressed and ready. Stay here and watch cartoons okay?”
He only response was a smile and a nod. Which was all that I needed. Thirty minutes later, we were in the car on our way to Jack’s Ball Pit Party.
“Mama, why are we going to the ball pit?” Zarah questioned me.
“You don’t want to go?” I asked, shocked.
“No, I wanna go, but why not the park or something?”
“Do you want me to turn around?”
“NO!” She cried. Then she was very quiet for the rest of the ride.
“Mommy look!” Zarah exclaimed as she through balls in the air above her head. She was having more fun than most of the children. She always did here. She was so eager and happy here. So full of life. It was one of those moments when you just can’t help but smile at.
“Just be careful Zarah” I shouted over the noise. I was waiting for it. Waiting for the moment when she would cry with glee. It was coming, but he hadn’t told me when.
Zarah was dancing and getting along with all the other kids. She was having so much fun. Jumping, laughing, running; the ball pit was her favorite place to play. I hope after today it will stay that way for a long time. When I heard my girl scream, it shocked me out of my trance.
“Let me go!” Zarah screamed as the tall man picked her up. She wouldn’t stop squirming until he turned her so she could see his bold face. “DADDY!” She cried.
I myself jumped into the pit when and ran over to my husband. He was here; he had come, just like he said he would. Zarah Hugged Zaine until he couldn't breathe no more. She had a lot of strength for a 4-year-old. Then turned to me. “Mama, it’s daddy!”
“I know baby girl. I know,” I said as I pulled my daughter close.
“Deana.” He said and pulled me into a family hug. Everyone in the building was recording and taking pictures and cheering. I just held my daughter and husband in my arms. “I’m home,” He whispered in my ear.
“I wore your shirt today daddy. The one you like so much.” Zarah explained.
“That is the shirt I like so much. How did you ever remember?”
“Because. You told me. I ‘member everything you tell me. Like I will ‘member this place.”
“Why are you gonna remember this place?” Zaine asked her.
She looked him in the eye,“because it’s the place my daddy came home.”