Marilyn Friesen

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Showing posts with label toddlers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toddlers. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lullabies and Memories Even Though the Twins are Still Separated

Are you interested in seeing an excerpt from my upcoming book? My computer has a serious attitude so I can't seem to edit this. I hope it will publish!!

“Away in a manger no crib for a bed,” Margaret sang not caring that it was still a long time until Christmas. Juniour and Sally waited patiently on the couch until it was their turn to be rocked. Finally with a little smile on her face, Alice closed her innocent young eyes and was fast asleep.
            Margaret didn’t put her down right away, though. She stroked the soft copper-colored tendrils off Alice’s forehead and wondered if her twin still looked so totally identical to her. She carried her carefully to the lower bunk that David had made: twin sized on the bottom and single on the top, so that each of the children could sleep in the former storage room. Her heart was filled with prayerful longings towards the Other Twin.

She opened her arms to Sally who jumped eagerly on to her lap.

“Jesus loves me this I know,” she crooned next smiling at Davey Juniour. Soon, all too soon he wouldn’t want to be rocked anymore, thinking he was a big boy now. Already he was worried that the Other Boys in grade two would Find Out but she assured him she and Daddy would never tell and since he wouldn’t either it was their special secret. After the customary three or four songs for Sally, she tucked a light cover over the  girls and planted a kiss on each smooth, untroubled forehead
Now it was Davey’s turn. My, he’s growing to look more and more like his Daddy. She hugged him close and started singing “Dare to Be a Daniel,” which he loved. Sally resembled her birth mother, Janet, who Margaret had never met. None of the three were bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh, but she loved them dearly as if they were
Her voice faltered while singing “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” but Junior didn’t notice
 If little Ricky had lived he would be just a few months older than Emily and Alice, and he, too, would have had an opportunity to snuggle in her arms, something she achingly missed. She tried not to let her voice quaver as she thought about the baby she had lost on the ship, and that there had been no little brother or sister forthcoming since.
Soon the little darlings were fast asleep and as Margaret finished tidying up she wondered how much longer it would be before David came in. He often spent his evenings at the shop repairing a customer’s vehicle.

Sunday rolled around once again.

“Davey come stand by me as I brush the dust off your little suit.  My word, what were you doing, Little Man, that you got so dusty?”

“The ball rolled under your bed, Mummy.”

“And you when to fetch it, I see.   I had neglected to sweep under there for too long! Well, you sit on the couch and look at a book. Come Alice, I will comb your hair.”  

Oh my, how the time has flown. When I first came to Halifax Sally was even younger than Alice is now. When she was done she plopped the little girl on her David’s lap. He smiled at the little girl and tweaked her chin. When she snuggled up against his shoulder, Margaret’s brow puckered. How would we ever be able to give up Alice if Marita decides to want her back?  As she combed Sally’s shiny, blond hair into two almost waist-length braids and fastened them with ribbons, she thought of even deeper worries. Lord, what is going on in Marita’s life?  Are they destitute? Ill-treated? Has Randall gotten his drinking under control?

“Margaret we will have to hurry if we want to get to church on time.”

Margaret’s eyes swept over the kitchen and she sighed. The dishes were stacked neatly beside the sink but they weren’t washed. Oh well, at least the children got the table cleared and wiped.

She often dreaded Sunday’s because unexpectedly a wave of nostalgic memories would sweep over her and she had been known to weep right in the pew of that formal church.

 Daddy, her dear Daddy used to be a warm-hearted preacher far away in England, but he, and Mumsey, also, had died in such a tragic way.

Alice, who was sitting on her lap as they drove, was prattling away, and didn’t notice when she sniffed and discretely wiped away a tear. David did though, and his hand reached out to cover hers.  She smiled sadly at him.

The two in the back were making such a ruckus; they certainly wouldn’t be noticing the little exchange going on in front of them.

Later the sermon droned on and on. What wouldn’t Margaret give to be listening to her father preach just once more? How she missed his endearing way of weaving in stories in so that even the younger ones would be interested. How she missed seeing her brother Richard sitting close to the front on the far side with a batch of boys his age. She remembered more than once his mischievousness would threaten to boil over and father would quell it with a stern look. Oh, dear where is my hankie?

After church there was the usual gossip and idle chit-chat.

The neighbour girl, Janiece, strolled by arm in arm with a handsome man from the States. Her mint green drooping and flower adored hat was the envy of the younger set…or was it the man she was with?

She joined a cluster of women visiting in front of the building.

“Well Janiece sure got herself a fine catch. I wonder when the wedding will be.”

“”Oh, hadn’t you heard? It’s going to be a June wedding, next June, of course, and they will be honeymooning in France. Imagine! In our day France was a dreadful place to be.”

The first speaker grimaced, “I’m glad that war is over. My cousin was the only one from our family, who served, and he’s such a grouchy, old soul since returning. He used to be so much fun!”

Margaret turned to gather up the children, feeling empty and desolate. Sometimes she admitted being less satisfied after going to church than she had before the service.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Take A Peek into My Upcoming Book (but don't cry too hard.)

It  was a good thing that the rocking motion of the train kept Emily sleeping. For many miles her mother leaned forward, shaking with sobs. Then Marita tried to get a grip on herself.
People will be wondering what's wrong, or think I'm mighty queer if I can't stop being so emotional. She managed to hold it in for about five seconds, then a sleepy movement of Emily's little fingers got her thinking about Alice and the tears rolled down her cheeks.

When Emily woke up she was acting restless and fussy. Marita stared at her; she had never acted so upset in quite that way before.  Why does she twist her head from side to side like that and keep whimpering? Does she have an ear ache? Oh surely not!  I have no idea how to soothe an earache, on a train at that.

Emily's whimpers turned into loud, lusty wails and just as she picked her up, it hit Marita like a rock. Emily is missing her identical twin.

Worry lines puckered Marita's forehead. I thought it was only me that would suffer, but look what I have done to my little girl!

 In her agitation it was impossible to calm the crying three month old. What can I do? Oh, what can I do? People are beginning to stare at me, I'm sure of it!

She felt the back of her neck and ears scorch from the real or imaginary disapproval of those around her. What would Margaret have done? She was always so calm, so tranquil with the crying babies while I would get frantic.

Oh, she often sang.

For a moment Marita could see Margaret in the old, scuffed up rocking chair singing sweetly to which ever baby was upset.  The chair was stuffed into the corner of their bedroom because there was simply no other place for it, but the melodies would float through the small space even on the darkest of nights.

Suddenly Marita realised how blessed she had been to have Margaret help her care for the newborns, especially since she was so young and inexperienced.

The songs started coming back to her, and as she crooned, her own spirit calmed.

"Jesus Saviour pilot me over life's tempestuous sing. Boisterous waves around me roll, hiding rock and treacherous shoal, "(Edward Hopper.)

She rocked harder as the wails grew louder, but Emily's crying wasn't affecting her quite the same anymore.  She was thinking of the words.

"As a mother stills her child, Thou canst hush the ocean wild." Ocean wild: that's exactly what my heart's been like for so long now.
That's the secret of Margaret's serenity. She lets Jesus hush the storms, the grief and heartache in her own spirit.

Hot tears sprung to Marita's eyes. Margaret suffered much but she always was there for me.

She let her tears fall on Emily's downy hair.

"Lord, I want what she has," she whispered.

A small child hopped off the chair at his mother's side and stood in the aisle watching her.

Marita smiled at him.

"Baby," he said.

"Yes, she's just a baby. She's sleeping now."

He nodded. "Baby cry. Baby go nigh-night."

"Yes, Baby has gone 'night-night."

He observed them silently.

"What's your name, little boy?"

He didn't answer.

"The baby's name is Emily.  Mine is Mar- Mrs. Smith.  Can you say Emily?"

"Mmm'ee. Baby small."

"Yes, Emily is very small, yet, "

He put his hand on the top of his head, it barely reached. " Me big boy. "

He watched Emily making little sucking noises. "Baby hun-gee."

"Baby's fine for a little while. Are you hungry?"

The small champ nodded.

 Oh dear what have I gotten into?

Marita gently laid the baby beside her and reached into her purse.  Margaret had slipped a small paper sack of crackers into her hand while they were at the train station.

She took one out and showed it to his Mum. "Is it okay if I give him one?"

"Bobby, you aren't hungry, are you?"


"Oh well, just one then. It will tide you over 'til we reach Toronto, You should have a nap while we wait."

"What do you say?"

"Tang-too!" He made a bee-line for his mommy's lap and snuggled there while munching on his cracker, completely oblivious to the crumbs his mother was patiently brushing off his shirt and her skirt.

By then Marita was singing another song.

"What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear..." She looked at Bobby so sleepy in his mother's arms and wondered if she had ever felt safe and secure snuggled up close to her mother.

 Oh, Lord, give me that feeling of security that comes from being close to you. I want to trust you with my whole life; she gave a little shudder, thinking of Randall in gaol, even the unknown future.  She looked down at Emily again, especially the future.

When Emily woke up, and after she had gotten her little tummy filled, Marita arranged her new woolen coat on the floor with the satin side up. Emily seemed to enjoy being able to kick and stretch in the less confining space.

Emily looked so sweet in the cloud soft sweater set Margaret had diligently knitted for her. Margaret had taught Marita how to make one also, and she felt a bit guilty for taking the better one. It was obvious that Margaret's was so much fluffier.

Marita stooped down to remove the light yellow bonnet from the tiny girl  and was pleased to see that Emily's coppery red hair was definitely beginning to curl.

Emily smiled at her and cooed.

Maybe she will get over the loss of her sister soon. Please God.