January 23, 2013

Unbreakable Bonds

Empty Arms

“Please,” she pleads on the other end of the telephone.  “Please don’t let him forget me.”  I can’t ignore the desperation, the near hopelessness in her request.  It surely follows years and years of disappointments and frustrations, watching dreams of the future crumble around her.  It is an appeal made from a heart of grief, knowing that she will most likely never see this child again.  It is the cry of a heart-broken grandmother.

Parents may make mistakes, and sometimes they do foolish things or make decisions that affect the lives of their innocent children.  The children end up in the foster care system or being placed for adoption, in hopes that some of the damage that has wreaked havoc on their young lives might somehow heal.  But when children are separated from their parents, it’s not just the nuclear family that is dramatically affected.  Where does that leave the grandparents?  How do they fit into the story?

January 8, 2013

Becoming Beautiful

There is nothing immediately noticeable about her that distinguishes her from most young ladies her age.  She is not exactly lovely, but her milky-white skin is free of blemishes; her sparkly, slightly mischievous blue eyes are framed by eyelashes that could use a little accentuating; and her long dark hair rebelliously escapes from the styles that try to contain it.  She spends carefree summer afternoons alternating between giggling with her best friend about the stylish new dress in the window at the village shop, and exploring the small woods near her home, imagining that she is on a quest to find a hidden treasure.  A perfect combination of feminine daydreams and tomboy amusement. 

She has heard the legendary tale, of course, of a girl named Cinderella, an ordinary girl like herself whose mundane, predictable life was turned upside down when the prince chose her above every other maiden in the kingdom.  How she longed to be beautiful like that!  To have the prince search tirelessly until he found her, and then whisk her off to the palace on his white horse for a perfect, story-book ending.

Oh, how she dreams of the future!  She can only imagine what an exciting life awaits her “out there,” away from this provincial village that hasn’t changed in centuries.  She longs for a life of adventure, to travel to far-off countries with exotic sights and strange-smelling food.  To do something important!  She wants to experience the world, to become someone whom other people would describe as interesting and confident and brave.

One chilly autumn day, the young woman strolls down the path on her way to town, daydreaming and anticipating the annual Fall Festival that is being planned.  Hard-working farmers and jovial shop-keepers and skilled tradesmen from the surrounding countryside will all be coming together in a few short days to celebrate this year’s bountiful harvest.  She knows she will be meeting a lot of different people, and she wonders what she should wear and tries to imagine how her hair would look in a cute new style that she had heard was becoming popular in the bigger towns.