Friday Fiction "Puckered Lips"

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"I thee her," lisped little Joshua. "She'th under da coath."

Sure enough, I saw movement between the jackets and coats near the kitchen door. A pair of stocking feet shuffled amid the jumble of boots and sneakers. I parted the row of coats to find some five-year-old pigtails, a pair of blue eyes, and some puckered lips that looked a little pinker than usual.

"Elizabeth Ann, what are you doing under there?"

"Josh, told on me!"

"I saw you, too. Why didn't you answer me? I wanted you to help me."

She held her arms behind her back.

"What do you have in your hands?"

She reluctantly placed a pink and white chapstick tube in my outstretched palm.

"Where did you get this?"

"Over at Tammy's house... under her bed."

"Elizabeth! Did she give it to you?"

"Mama, she has so many that she won't even know that it's gone. I don't have any!"

No, spending money on Barbie chapstick was a luxury around this house. Every dollar went toward groceries and doctor bills.

"You can always use mine. This is Tammy's."

"Tammy gets whatever she wants. I wish I was Tammy."

Yes, with two younger brothers and another baby on the way, Elizabeth knew what it meant to share her toys, her room, and her mother's attention. Tammy had a whole room of toys, Cabbage Patch dolls, Barbies, trikes, games, and jewelry. Elizabeth was right. Tammy wouldn't miss one little chapstick.

"Elizabeth, it's wrong to take something that isn't yours. It's stealing."

Her clear blue eyes filled with tears. ""

"You need to take this back to Tammy and Aunt Debbie and tell them that you are sorry."

"No, Mama! Can't you just give me a spanking and I'll put it back when I go play over there again?"

Now, my eyes were filling with tears, too. I picked up the phone.

"Debbie?...Elizabeth has something she has to tell Tammy. Will you be home?... She'll be over in a minute....Yes, would you call me back?... thanks...bye."

"Mama, do I have to say anything?"

"Yes, it's the right thing to do."

I stood at the kitchen door and watched my little girl trudging, scuffling next door to her cousin's house. I'm sure that driveway looked a mile long. She turned back and looked at me. She silently pleaded wih me and wiped the steady stream of tears on her cheeks.

"Go," I insisted, blinking away my own tears.

In a few minutes, the phone rang. "Hello, Debbie....Yes, that's good....No,thank you, but I don't want her to have it...She needs to learn this... Thank you...bye."

Soon I heard running feet, happy feet, relieved feet pattered down the driveway and up the back steps.

"I did it, Mama!"

I held her close. "I'm glad.What you did was wrong. You need to tell God that you are sorry, too."

Again those blue eyes swam, and she buried her face in my breast. "Oh, Mama, I'm sorry."

"You need to tell God that."

With a sniff, she clasped her hands together and bowed her head. "Dear God, I'm sorry I took Tammy's chapstick. I won't ever, ever, ever do it again! Amen." She lifted her face to me and smiled.

"Now, I need help making cookies."

"Me, too?" asked Joshua, climbing on the stool.

"You can stir first," said Elizabeth, as she handed him the wooden spoon.


S.C.(S.Harricharan) said...

Awww! What a darling story! I love the character of Elizabeth and the chapstick, this was such a precious read. Fun! ^_^

Patty Wysong said...

A charming story, Vonnie! So good!

Lynn Squire said...

This was so dear. Thanks for sharing it.

Hoomi said...

Wonderful story, and one that should be emulated by more parents. Making a child take responsibility for their actions is one of the best lessons a parent can give.


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