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Give Us This Day

                                                             Give Us This Day

 

      No question about it, she was at her wit’s end. Rob had tried to be sympathetic last night when she presented her case as reasonably as she was capable of by that point. He didn’t even attempt to refute her claims of utter exhaustion and profound perplexity, as he sometimes had in the past. Rather, he held her close, smoothed her hair, and soothed her frazzled nerves with promises of better things ahead and reassurances of solidarity. Of course, it was hard to judge how effective his strategies were, since she fell into a deep sleep almost the instant she lay down.

     Jason had been adamant, as always. And clever, too. No matter how she approached him—threatening, promising, wheedling, authoritative—he always seemed to be a step ahead of her and much more in control of himself than she was. It had gotten to the point where she was close to feeling defeated almost before she opened her mouth, and Jason seemed to perceive that and use it to his own advantage. How had he come to develop such amazing self-assurance, such absolute conviction in his positions on every issue, such serene smugness? He was unassailable, unmovable, a rock of aplomb and complacency, while she was increasingly insecure, beset by doubts and second guesses. Her lifelong poise and calm optimism were rapidly being displaced by their very opposites, to her horror and chagrin.

Was this the way it was meant to unfold? Had she forfeited her future happiness by indulging in that single act of faith and love? Were there no adequate solutions to the predicament in which she now found herself?  How had she lacked the foresight, if not the will power, to see where this would all lead?  In despair, last night she had turned to Rob, as she had so many times before, in hopes of finding a solution, or at the very least, solace.

When she awoke, she was alone. The nighttime quiet had lost its power to calm her and now simply served to remind her that another day would soon begin. The stillness was fraught with imaginary warnings of what lay ahead. She groaned and buried her face in her pillow, wishing with all her might that the clock might stop, but to no avail. She shuddered to think what the long hours lying in wait for her might bring.

Then suddenly, she stood, filled with fresh resolve, daring her world to try to keep her from reveling in every moment, every situation, every challenge, every delight that 2-year-old Jason was sure to bring to her life on that new day, and that Rob would inevitably miss out on while at work. 

(Story #2)                                                    First Things First

       What a riot! Quite literally, in fact, as Jason and his Montessori companions raced around the playground. Jason was in the lead, one shoe off, one shoe on, the knees of his pants as black from repeated falls as the palms of his hands, his curls one big tangle, his plump knees pumping, his cheeks red as cherries, his voice high as a whistle. On his heels were five little toddlers of varying sizes, shapes, and colors. No one had officially taught them to play “follow the leader,” but Jason had unknowingly managed to get the concept across without words.

      Jason’s imagination was racing as fast as his feet. Under the slide, through the sandbox, a wild turn around the swings and back to home base behind the bamboo. Aliens, pirates, cowboys, astronauts, firefighters, policemen, soccer players, bear hunters, backhoe operators, sailors—any identity that involved speed, danger or adventure was fair game for the present and an option for the future. What two-year-old cares about government shutdowns and the Fortune 500? They were so far down the priority list behind marshmallows and juice that they didn’t even figure on the same page.

      Oh-oh, stopped in his tracks. That time again. She caught him up in a big hug, not caring about the dirt and sweat he’d accumulated all through the morning. Time to switch gears, dig into his own toy box at home, and wheedle her into letting him use her iPad. A snack, a nap, and all’s right with the world. 

(Story #3)                                      An Extraordinary Day

     The siren's whine barely registered as she flung open the door of the daycare center, raced to the yard, then saw Jason's shoe, forlorn. 

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