Callie was crying.
Her beautiful drawing was ruined, all because she had sneezed while she was coloring her daddy so that her little sister wouldn’t be lonely anymore. Next she had been planning to draw her mommy, not sick of course, and then herself.
But now it was all ruined, and she couldn’t erase it without smudging her sister. And she didn’t want that. Her sister needed to be perfect because this was her Christmas present to her parents.
She knew they were worried about her sister and her mommy. Luke, the baby before this new one, had only lived a few days after being born, and now with baby Lillie on the way and her mommy being sick, her parents were praying and trying not to be afraid as it got closer and closer to time for Lillie to join them.
Callie knew all this, and that was why she wanted her drawing to be perfect. She wanted to show her parents that she trusted God about the baby. She wanted to show her parents that she loved them and her sister- and her brother. That’s why the sun she had drawn had a smiley face on it. The sun was Luke.
The seven-year-old girl took a deep breath, rubbed her nose on a tissue instead of blowing it like her mommy showed her, and climbed down from her seat. She reached up to the table to pull the picture down with her, still sniffling. The picture was wet where her tears had fallen. The grass was growing up towards the sky and her sister’s picture looked terrified.
She tried not to look at it. Lillie seemed to be saying, “What are you doing to me? Why did you stop drawing Daddy? I want to see him too!”
“Emmy?” Callie asked, crawling up onto the couch by her babysitter (her parents were at the doctor’s office).
Callie’s Aunt Emmy quickly reached over and pulled the little girl onto her lap, sensing her mood (and having heard the yell of frustration a few moments ago). “What’s wrong, Callie?” The girl waved the ruined picture in her aunt’s face.
“I messed it all up! Now I’ll never finish it in time.”
Emmy examined the piece of paper closely and tried to comfort her niece “Don’t worry, sweetheart! You can give them one of the other pictures you drew today.”
“No I can’t! You don’t understand…” Callie stuck out her bottom lip and burst into renewed tears.Emmy, assuming her niece was simply being your average seven-year-old, placed the picture to the side and waited until Callie stopped crying.
Emmy, assuming her niece was simply being your average seven-year-old, placed the picture to the side and waited until Callie stopped crying.
“Why can’t you give them another picture?”Callie, between hiccups, explained in her childish way about the people in the picture, and how she wanted to show her parents what their family would look like when her mommy got better and her sister was born. Emmy was silent for a long time. She knew what Callie didn’t; that Callie’s mother was at the hospital having an emergency C-Section and that no one was sure if the baby would make it.
Emmy spoke softly. “Callie,” she said, rubbing the girl’s back. “I think it’d be good for you to go on to bed. I’ll still be here in the morning, and we can talk about the picture then. Okay?”
There were sniffles from Callie, then finally, “okay.” Carefully, Emmy picked up her niece, put her into her pajamas, and gently placed her in her bed. After kissing her goodnight and making sure she was trying to go to sleep, the young woman went back into the living room and sat staring at Callie’s picture.It was the hard work of a seven-year-old, with a tree made of “c’s” and a house made up of a square and a triangle. But parts of the picture were blurred from tears, and there was a great, thick, pencil mark running across the two people standing in front of the house.
The phone rang suddenly, jarring Emmy back into reality. She rushed over to it and held it closely to her ear. The number was her brother-in-law’s.
Emmy listened in stunned silence as her brother spoke. When he finished, Emmy took a long breath before putting the phone down. With a renewed determination, she walked over to her bag, selected several items, and sat down at the kitchen table. She had a long night ahead of her.