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Mom's Little Angel
Stories of the Special Bond Between Mothers and Daughters
Tara tried to read the morning paper but found turning the pages difficult with the arms of a three-year-old wrapped tightly around her neck. Not to mention the head with long dirty blond hair that rested on her chest and blocked the view of the headlines and articles.
Awakened by the sounds of her two older sisters leaving for school, Sophie had climbed out of bed and immediately into her mother's lap. She had practically become her mom's shadow, never letting Tara out of her sight if she could help it. Tara loved her daughter, but had recently complained to her husband about Sophie's clinging. It was hard enough for a mother of three to get anything done, but now it was nearly impossible with a child who insisted on riding on her hip most of the day. Even going to the bathroom alone had become a luxury.
Frustrated, Tara finally put the newspaper down and contemplated prying her child away. But then she remembered a time a few years back when she naïvely thought her older daughters would always want her affection and attention, a time when she was focused on what she believed a mother was supposed to do, like potty training in accordance with developmental timetables and making sure the girls knew their ABCs before entering kindergarten, instead of just having goofy playtime on the floor. And then there were all those times when she had told her older daughters to "wait just a minute," only to find that when she was ready and available, her attention was no longer wanted or needed.
She remembered the night whenher oldest, April, no longer wanted her mother to sing her a lullaby before she fell asleep each night. It was a ritual Tara did with all three daughters, each of whom had her own favorite good-night song. April was the first to give up that ritual; suddenly she preferred to yell good-night from her room before shutting her door and turning the lights out.
For too many nights Tara had walked past April's closed bedroom door trying to accept that her oldest child had pulled away. It had been more than a year since they held hands in public. The reassurance from other moms that all children eventually return to the bosom gave her hope while she held back tears watching April leave for school in the morning. The ritual good-bye hug now too was relegated to their past.
Tara remembered that just that morning she had stood in the door watching April skip confidently toward the school bus. With crossed fingers, she had hoped her oldest daughter would look back and wave, but she didn't. Tara looked over Sophie's head at the newspaper once more. Suddenly she had lost all interest in local news, restaurant reviews, and fashion tips. She felt Sophie's heart beating against her chest and the sleeping child's slow breathing blowing across her neck.
This was her baby, her last child. Tara didn't know when it would happen, but she knew in that moment that one day Sophie, like her older sisters, would not want to be held this close again.
Tara looked at their combined shadows spilling across the kitchen tile floor and pulled Sophie a little closer—close enough to ensure that not even a single beam of the morning sunlight could come between them.Mom's Little Angel
Stories of the Special Bond Between Mothers and Daughters. Copyright � by Gregory Lang. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.