December 15, 2008
She remembers when her momma used to make her chicken noodle soup
those times when she was too ill to get out of bed,
and when she pretended to have a tummy ache,
wanting Momma to stay by her side, tuck her into bed,
read her stories, and sing bed-time songs.

She remembers when her daddy used to come home late,
kiss her on the cheek before he went to bed.
She would barely wake up and say, “I love you, Daddy,”
pull the blankets up and drift right back to sleep.

She remembers when she used to play dress up,
wear her momma’s high heels,
ask Daddy if she was pretty enough to be a princess.

She remembers when she used to play doctor,
search for Momma’s pulse,
tell Daddy he was too ill to go to work,
he’d just have to stay home.

Only six years old,
she cannot wait to grow up,
to have a family,
to be on her own.

The anticipation is overwhelming.
It takes her by the hand,
quickly pulls her ten years down the road.

Now she’s sixteen.
She wonders where the time has gone.

Two more years and she’ll be married,
have a family of her own:
daughters with blonde hair and pig tails,
brunette sons with khaki slacks.

Her daughters will ask her to read Buzzle Billy
and tell their big brothers to share.
They’ll want soup when they don’t feel well
and tickle fights when they’re sad.

Her sons will be rough,
They will chase squirrels and tease their sisters.

She cannot wait for that family,
but she wants to keep the time she has.
Anticipation has held her hand too long.
She wants to let go, to take it slow.

She grabs her daddy’s callused hand instead.
She says, “I’m not ready to move out yet.
I’m not ready to let you go.”
His chapped lips part with a smile,
“Just take your time.”

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