Grace won the race that day.
I collapsed with exhaustion
Onto to the supple carpet.
Sensing that her diminutive body
Was inching closer
(She never could stifle the giggles of delight
when she thought herself sly),
I spun around pointing euphoric fingers
And her own laughter seemed to startle her
As she buckled under the amusement,
Falling to my side.
We lay in the reassuring silence
Gazing up toward the heavens
And a unexpected whisper escaped her lips -
I managed to relocate my
Lethargic body to the couch,
And the ten tiniest fingers grasped my
Arm as she heaved herself over me and into
The space between my shoulder and the cushion.
Once settled, her breathing slowed,
And I thought momentarily before beginning…
"Years and years ago
there was a girl that lived in
this very neighborhood
who had a hole in her heart.
Now I know you're asking yourself,
How could someone live with a hole in her heart,
Well, it started as a tiny pin prick and
Over time it became wider
And it had been there so long that the girl
Wasn't even aware of its existence
Until she met three beautiful,
Loving, intelligent children
Whose very souls lit her up...
When she became immersed
In these children's lives,
It became apparent that
A void was being filled.
Her heart began to renew itself
And new love, new memories,
New experiences and emotions
Filled that empty space.
And do you know that girl
Became a better, stronger person?
She stopped living for herself
And she put those children first
In every aspect of her life
And to this very day,
She would give her life for them.
Drop everything at the first request
And not miss a recital, play,
Christmas pageant or vacation
For anything in this world.
Some friendships are made
To last forever.
Some people will find one another
Because the give and take,
The teaching and learning,
Is meant to be explored.
And if ever there is a moment
In your life, ma bebe,
When you question my devotion,
Remember that I have seen you
Grow up, in every way that one can
And that wild horses couldn't keep me away."
Thinking she was sleeping,
I turned to get comfortable and
Closed my own eyes
And do you know what came out of
That earth angel's mouth?
The Swahili lullabye we learned together
So long ago:
Wakati unajiwa na
Imba wimbo wa upepo
Wakati ndoto tamu
Lala mpaka usiku uisheni
Upepo wa usiku
Wimbo wanko na
Wimbo wangu inaendelea milele
English translation of the last line:
The song, my child, will go on forever.
And it will.