When You Listen to a Child

when you listen to a child #handsfreemama

My younger daughter and I were the first ones to arrive home from an evening swim meet. Although I knew my husband would be arriving shortly with my mom and older daughter, my heart was heavy that I had to come home first.

I had an overwhelming feeling of dread about what I might find.

My dad, who was visiting from Florida, had fallen ill that afternoon and was not able to go to the meet. Although he’d promised not to descend the stairs while we were gone, I couldn’t help but worry about my 74-year-old diabetic father during the swim meet.

That feeling of angst I’d endured for hours was now going into overdrive as my daughter and I ascended the stairs. We expected to find my dad sleeping soundly, but his bed was empty.

My perceptive child knew what she saw was not good. “Uh-oh. Where’s Paw Paw?” she asked with wide eyes and concern in her voice.

I swallowed hard.

“Oh, I am sure he is around her somewhere,” I said forcing myself to sound light-hearted even though the feeling of panic in my chest was now nearly suffocating. “Why don’t you go to your bedroom and put on your pajamas while I look for Paw Paw?” I suggested, not knowing what condition we might find my dad in.

After putting up a brief protest about wanting to help look for her grandpa, my child obliged. As soon as she reached her bedroom, I bolted down the stairs.

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