Christian Short Stories

Willow Lane
By Cathy McDowell

Cathy writes: "I am married living in Bradenton, FL. I write hoping someone will read a story and come to know Christ."

The area of town where we live is lovely. My husband, son and I live on Willow Lane. It seemed everyone knew where it was. It's the street all the willows are on they'd say.

Next door to us lives an older couple. When I say older I mean in their sixties. I guess when I'm in my forties I'll see eighties as older.

At age twenty-seven, I am happy. I have a nice home, a wonderful husband, a beautiful little three-year old boy and a baby due in seven months. I'm one of those people who want to wait to see if it's a girl or boy while my husband David wants to know now. I think he's hoping we'll have a baseball team eventually.

Being a stay at home Mom, I got to know most of my neighbors, the ones who didn't work that is. The older couple, Martha and Pete are nice. They're right next door and I see a lot of them when I take little Davy out to play. They sit on the front porch in good weather and while Davy rides his trike on the sidewalk. I sometimes sit on their steps and chat with them.

Martha likes to bake and she's forever giving us cookies, banana bread, cupcakes and such. If it keeps up I swear I'll be bigger than a house by the time the baby comes.

"Hi," I called out to Martha as she sat on her porch.

"Hi Missy, how are feeling today?" Martha asked.

"I feel great, no morning sickness or anything," I told her.

"That's wonderful," Martha said. "Pete went inside to get some iced tea, would you like to join us?" she continued.

"That sounds good, I'll be over in a minute," I told her.

I went in and made sure the stove was turned off and got Davy's trike so he could ride while I visited Martha and Pete. David worked such long hours and they were nice to have around to keep me company. They were practically the only real friends I had.

David called as I was on my way out the door. "Missy, I'm calling to tell you I have to work a double shift today," he said. I replied "What else is new?" He assured me the crazy hours would end soon and he'd get back on regular hours. Before hanging up he said, "I love you." I told him, "I love you too."

I headed out the door and by then Pete had come out with the tea. He asked, "How are you today young lady?" I told him I was okay but I didn't feel very young. Being pregnant and never seeing my husband didn't put me in a very good mood.

Davy rode his trike where we could see him. We talked about how much he'd grown, the weather, David's work, grocery and gas prices. We talked about everything under the sun, including the sun. "The tea is exceptionally good today," I told them. Martha told me she set this pitcher on the back step in the sun to make sun tea. I laughed and told her mine's usually counter tea. It wasn't long when Martha excused herself and went inside. I asked if I could help and followed her in. She had made cookies, peanut butter cookies! I told her I was going to get fat if she kept baking like that when we heard screeching tires and screams.

We both ran outside to find Davy alongside the road. I ran as fast as my feet would carry me to get to him. I remember yelling out, "CALL 911!" I knelt next to his little body and I could see he was breathing. I rubbed the hair off his forehead and quietly said, "It's okay baby, Mama's here." He looked at me and whispered "Mommy?" "I'm here baby, I'm right here," I told him.

It felt like forever before we heard sirens. I remembered from school that you don't move a body. The paramedics arrived and got Davy on a stretcher and put him in the ambulance with an I.V. bottle and oxygen going to his little nose. They said he seemed fine to them but he'd probably need x-rays.

"I'm a terrible mother," I wept into the phone at the emergency room talking to David. "I didn't watch my baby and he was struck by a car," I told him. He could have been killed. David told me he'd be there as soon as he could. It wasn't long when David came running in and asked, "Is he okay? Can I see him?"

I told him he was okay and he was getting x-rays and no one could go in there. We paced while we waited and finally after what seemed like hours the attending physician came in and said, "Mr. and Mrs. Harris, your little boy is going to be okay, no bones were broke but we do want to keep him overnight for observation. You never know when internal bleeding might start and it would be best if he were here if that happened."

We thanked the Doctor and asked if we could see our baby. The Doctor said we could stay all night if we wanted.

Davy lay there sleeping with oxygen going and an I.V. in his tiny arm. I'm an awful mother I said to myself. David had called work and was given the rest of the day and night off. I looked toward the ceiling and said, "Thank you, Jesus."

I heard someone clear their throat and I looked to see Martha and Pete in the doorway. I ran to them and we group hugged. I told them what the doctor had said and they were relieved.

They took a quick peak at my baby laying there and I could see Martha had tears in her eyes. "Poor baby," she said as she walked away from the crib. They told us they were sorry this had happened and if they could do anything to just ask.

I had a hard time trying to sleep. Every time I closed my eyes I could see my baby boy laying along the road. I kept a close eye on him and of course the nurses were in what seemed like every hour checking his vitals. Whenever he woke up he whimpered, "Mommy", so I knew he'd be okay. David stayed awake most of the night too. I had a feeling by the time Davy was released, both David and myself would need a good nights sleep. I prayed over my baby's crib asking God to please keep him safe through the night.

The morning came and the nurses had shift change. The morning nurse on duty was young and I could tell by the way she took care of Davy that she truly was a good nurse. I asked her, "Do you know if he'll be released soon?"

The nurse said, "The doctor will decide that when he comes in. I saw him earlier so it shouldn't be much longer."

I thanked her and she left the room. Minutes went by when the doctor came in. "I have some good news for you Mr. and Mrs. Harris, it looks like David Jr. won't need any more tests and he will be able to go home this morning."

I said "Thank you so much, Doctor."

He added, "I want to make this clear to both of you, you have to keep him as still as you possibly can for next twenty fours, it's crucial that he stays quiet."

"Yes Doctor, yes, we'll do everything we can to keep him quiet."

The Doctor told us he had to write up his release papers and the nurse would be in.

We arrived home just before ten a.m. The hospital sure takes their time letting people go home I thought. David helped by carrying our son inside while I fixed a place on the sofa for him. I laid a sheet down and brought his pillow and favorite teddy bear to keep him comfortable. David called his work and he had managed to get another day off.

"You know, David," I said. "It isn't going to be easy keeping him quiet for an entire day. He is three years old."

"I know what you mean but we have to," said David.

Davy was awake and I put one of his cartoon DVD's in for him. He watched for a little while before he said, "I want to go outside, Mommy."

"How about I make us some lunch for now?" I asked him. He nodded.

I left David with Davy and went into the kitchen. I opened the refrigerator first, then looked in the cupboard. I thought, peanut butter and jelly sounded good for Davy. I fixed his sandwich and took it to him when he asked, "How come I can eat on the sofa today?"

I smiled at him and told him, "It's a special day today so it's okay to eat on the sofa."

He smiled and took the sandwich from me. He picked up one half and looked at the filling and said, "Oh boy, peanut butter and jelly." I knew then he would be okay.

David and I both stayed by his side the rest of the afternoon. If one of us had to leave the room, the other stayed. For a change David made our lunch and to my surprise, he made us peanut butter and jelly too. I laughed quietly and he said "What? Not only are they good, their easy to make." I couldn't agree more. I think it was the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had ever eaten.

David and I both dozed off and on all afternoon all while keeping an eye on Davy. It got to be time to start dinner when a knock came at the door. It was Martha and Pete coming to check on Davy. They stayed for a few minutes and were glad to see how well he was doing.

After they left I went to the kitchen to start dinner. I had chicken thawed from the day before so I peeled some potatoes and put them on to boil. When they were about half way done I put oil in my fryer and coated the chicken pieces with flour and seasoned them with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. I always thought garlic made everything taste a little better.

David came into the kitchen and ran to the stove. I had let the potatoes boil dry. I told him, "I can't seem to do anything right." The potatoes were salvageable and I turned to check the chicken as David walked back to the living room to be with Davy.

"The chicken is burned," I cried. "I can't do anything right! I can't make dinner and I can't take care of my son! How will I ever be able to take care of a new baby?" I dropped to my knees sobbing. As I was there on the floor, I could hear David talking to someone so I peaked out into the living room.

Martha and Pete had come back? That's odd I thought.

Martha walked into the kitchen and she didn't say a word. She just came to me and hugged me while I cried. After I'd regained my composure, she led me to the living room.

David was sitting with Davy and talking with Pete. Pete patted the chair next to him as if to say come sit.

I joined him and thanked him and Martha for coming by again. Martha spoke first. "David came out onto the porch and waved to us to come over. He explained to us that you were having a hard time."

That's right" Pete said. "It's a lot to handle in such a short time," he continued. "I always think, what would Jesus do when I am having a difficult day."

Pete asked me, "Do you ever turn to Jesus in times like this?"

I shook my head in shame and told him, "Only when I think to."

Pete told me, "In Psalms 23:4 it says, 'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.' Those are strong words Missy and they come with a promise." Then Pete said, "In 1 Thessalonians 4:18 it tells us, 'Wherefore comfort one another with these words.' God will give you comfort if you ask him Missy." Pete said.

Martha then said, "We will pray for you Missy, you too David and of course little Davy."

We thanked them as they left.

Davy was improving more and more each day and when we finally allowed him to go outside we were surprised when he asked if he could ride his trike. On this particular day we told him, "As soon as we get home from Church Davy."

(© 2012 Cathy McDowell – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)

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