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Pieces of eggshell were scattered across my lawn. Mama duck’s nest of mulch next to our front door lay empty. A critter had found her hiding place and enjoyed a midnight snack. My heart hurt for Mama. I had watched from my window as she and Papa had visited the nest every morning. He protected her as she sat on her eggs. That morning they returned to emptiness.

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I Remember

Make a wish! We baked a cake for Nikki’s birthday. Wet kisses on my cheek. You taught me the joy of loving a pet.

I stood on my tiptoes watching you slide the golden brown raisin bread from the coffee can. Scents of cinnamon wafting through the kitchen. Cooking with you made me feel special.

ANN CAN FLY. Sitting on the edge of the twin bed. Feet dangling. “Will you read it again?” Now I understand you were planting seeds showing me what girls could do.

You asked me what was wrong. I didn’t want you to leave. You gave me a hug.

There on the top shelf a big box of toys! Special gifts meant only for children in the hospital. You taught me the importance of caring and giving.

We sat thigh to thigh on the wooden pew. Your voice singing loud–mine soft. Sighs of boredom. You handed me one life saver. A treat in the middle of a long sermon. I miss my Sundays with you.

Ice tea clinking in glasses, a basket of bread on the table, Grandad warning to watch for bones in the fish. All I wanted was more chocolate peanut butter cookies!

Sneaky time hides in sight. It whisked you away. Years, days, hours, minutes… I’ve captured our moments together and locked them in my heart.

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Having lived in Florida for many years has given me the opportunity to learn from the lives of those much older than myself.

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“Every child deserves a champion … an adult who will never give up with them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” – Rita Pierson

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We took their leashes off and watched as they bolted across the sand splashing in the waves, sunlight on their backs, running as fast as their legs would take them. Their excitement over their newfound freedom filled me with happiness. The pups I once held in my palms were now ninety-pound dogs ready to explore the world. They kept going and going until all we could see were two wagging tails in the distance. Worry seeped in. Maybe we gave them too much freedom? What if they got lost or hurt?

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When I said the class could work in groups a smile stretched across his face. He looked as if I had just told him we were taking a trip to Universal.  He grabbed his backpack and darted over to two other boys.

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