listened to my two young girls talking in the room,
Unaware that I stood near the door.
The eldest played a teacher and, I take it, very strict.
My youngest was the pupil on the floor.
talk to me," the teacher said,"you must raise your hand
Then wait until I call on you to speak."
Her tone was one of tolerance, which caused me for to smile
To hear something such as that from one so meek.
pupil raised her hand then-or so I must assume
For she was called upon to state just what she wanted.
She said "I have a question"- the teacher,"Not right now!"
But she proceeded with her query quite undaunted.
Daddy going to die when his arthritis gets real bad?"
My jaw then must have dropped an inch or more.
I felt an answer coming, tho I knew not what 'twould be
And I crept up ever closer to the door.
Daddy isn't dying. He just hurts a lot, that's all."
Then she joined her little sister on the floor.
A lecture was impending. I could feel it in the air,
And I crept up even closer than before.
next few moments taught me much about my little girl
As she told her sister things of days gone by -
How Daddy used to run and play and throw her in the air,
And carry her when sleepiness was nigh.
told of how we'd taken walks around the neighborhood
And ridden bikes cross-town to buy us treats.
Her younger sister didn't talk. She just shook her head,
Disbelieving all this talk of Daddy's feats.
if he's grouchy now, it's just because of pain.
"Just wait awhile and it will go away."
She rose then and assumed the role of teacher once again -
'Twas time again to join the world of play.
went away to find a place where I could think awhile,
Emotions churned up to the brink of tears,
For the lesson I'd received was so hauntingly correct
From this girl who often sees beyond her years.
younger child was cheated by the course of this disease,
For my child-tossing days would not be back, -
But perhaps with extra effort and a bit more of resolve
I could compensate for some of what I lack.
now I'm sitting in a chair and trying to write this note
To tell of all the laughter that I heard...
A piggyback around the yard, - not far, but just enough
To let me know a miracle occurred.
body's wracked with pain now and I know that it must pay
For that little touch of Heaven that we shared,
And tho'I may not walk tomorrow and my hands refuse to work
I still know that it's all worth it -- I don't care,
tonight when bedtime came around and my girls gave me hugs,
They recalled the day and all the fun we'd had.
The clincher came when Christy wrapped her arms around my neck,
Kissed my nose, then said "Goodnight. I love you, Dad!"
Steven C. Stoker
with permission of the author