Return from Duty

by J. Speer

SSgt Miller took the overnight flight home.

It was a grueling flight much like the desert sands and blazing heat of the Middle East.

It had been a long year since he’d seen his children, now 14 and 8 years old.

The gym was a packed house.

He stood in the hallway in uniform near the school trophy cases.

Filled with deep emotion inside, he appeared calm and collected on the surface.

The school announced a special guest of honor over the intercom.

His daughter was on the Varsity team playing basketball.

She was a guard on the court.

The team was 7 and 2 this season.

It was something that together they discussed frequently over the long-distance phone calls at night.

He had taught her how to play ball.

Years ago in the driveway of their family home, they shot hoops together and played horse.

Countless hours.

He told her how to hold the ball just right for free throw shots and how to release it into the air.

When the school principal motioned him to enter the gym, his heart skipped a beat…

As did hers when she saw her father across the court.

She ran to him.

He held his arms out open wide.

His hat was in his left hand.

Her little brother and the soldier’s wife were already moving towards them from the stands.

Tears welled up in the faces of many nearby in the crowd as father and daughter embraced.

He kissed her forehead and smoothed her hair.

He held her tight.

She looked up at him smiling.

“I love you, Dad,” she said softly and shyly so only he could hear.

“I missed you.”

“I’m home,” he said with heartfelt gladness.

His son hugged them both.

The boy was grinning happily as he pressed his head against his father’s side.

His wife stood close by allowing her children this moment with their father.

She was crying tears of joy as well.

The crowd smiled and clapped loudly.

Home.

He was finally home.

New Little Book

A story from this blog called The Firefly’s Secret is now up on Amazon and doing well. It is #10 on Amazon in baby and toddler nursery rhyme books.

The little story is on kindle unlimited and selling on kindle for 1.99.

May Day Baskets

May Day is tomorrow and with this day comes the tradition of children making baskets of flowers to anonymously give to friends, neighbors, and family. During the social distancing, perhaps kids can send virtual flower photos to those they care about. Or you could work with your children tomorrow to draw a picture or two of flower baskets. Take a picture and send to family members and wish them a “Happy May Day!”

Why is the giving of May Day Baskets so great for kids?

It gives children the opportunity to create and design a flower basket. It is an artistic outlet for them.

It gives them a sense of accomplishment.

It gives them the chance to be sharing and caring.

Baskets left anonymously teach children to not expect rewards always for doing good deeds.

It is one of the few times a year that children are actively encouraged to give to adults rather than receive.

Sunflowers are my favorite so I’m sending you a flower pic to wish you and yours a Happy May Day as well!

(Google Images.)

8 Songs for Parents

A friend of mine recently had a beautiful new baby. These are some good songs to play for the bond between a young mother and father and baby:

  1. You’ll Be In My Heart by Phil Collins. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=git6DCXSqjE
  2. Danny’s Song by Anne Murray. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D7ultFfoiM
  3. Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmC3rJR7E98
  4. There Goes My Life by Kenny Chesney. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP-Sxfntdb4
  5. Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pbp6W4N1N9s
  6. Forever Young by Rod Stewart. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgiLWNgpXiQ
  7. I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2SfmcNg8js
  8. My Wish by Rascal Flatts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eCYb0X9iqM

The Monster under the Bed

(This is a children’s poem I wrote for Halloween.)

Each night,

After Mom kisses me goodnight,

She turns off my light and closes the door.

I reach for the dust ruffle touching the floor.

And, in the quiet dark, beneath my bed,

With glowing eyes waits a monster and I call him Ted.

He crawls out, bumping his head.

And hesitantly I listen to what is to be said.

He puffs up his chest.

He proclaims he’s the best.

He declares

And he swears

That he’s the great Grimy

The Great Grimy Mimey

From far, far away Bimey.

Sometimes we play checkers

Or create triple deckers

Of pillows or blocks

Or all sorts of rocks

Sometimes we imagine

A fight with a dragon.

I climb on his back.

We charge and attack

An army of trolls,

Ogres, or witches with moles.

He roars a mighty roar

Meant to frighten gargoyles, werewolves, and more. 

But not hairy goblins,

They are our friends,

And we hold weekly teas

With Ishgroth, Mthgar, and Grends. 

Sometimes, if I’m lucky,

Be brave and be plucky,

He’ll even agree to dress up

Though he pouts more than a grown up.

Ted is not fond of ribbons and curls.

He growls, “They’re for girls!”

“Not ferocious monsters, 10 feet tall,

With fearsome fangs and sharp talon claws!” 

He huffs and he puffs,

Smoke comes out his nose,

As I give a pink pedicure to old crusty toes.

But he loves me,

And I love him.

When I tell a joke,

He’ll laugh with a grin.

He’s definitely not dim.

He does magic tricks and juggles balls

And climbs all the walls. 

We laugh through the night,

Till the dawn’s early light.

Till my head starts to sag,

My words slowly drag. 

Now, it’s time for my nap,

Cuddled soft in his lap. 

Beside his green fur,

As he lets out a purr.

He sings me to sleep,

A rumbling voice extra deep.

In words like gibberish,

His native Bimish.

“Og vhe ung shar tej un gung gish,

Sev rwang ver zwasig lish.”

A monster melody

Rich with sweet monster glee.

Then kissing my slumbering head,

He crawls back under my bed.

To wait till tomorrow and drift off to dreams,

Of shrieking humans and loud fright-filled screams.

And he smirks in his sleep,

With a devilish heap,

Of razor-sharp teeth,

Waiting till dark, my pet monster Ted. 

Rain Puddle Splash

Splash! Kerplash!

A rain puddle bash!

Great golly her galoshes

make squishies and squashes

as she sloshes through rain puddles.

The umbrella she cuddles.

Fuddling and muddling in the

muddy murky mess

of splishedy, splashedy excess.

Pitter patter, pitter patter,

drip

drip

drip

Tilting her head back to

sip

sip

sip

Rain on the tip of her tongue.

Her eyes so vibrant.

Her face so young!

Pitter patter, splish and splatter,

She’s kicking water and jumping high,

spinning, skipping, nothing’s dry

It feels wondrous and wet

Is it fun?

Yes, you bet!