If I Wish Really Hard, Will Daddy Come Home?
By Gia, age 17, Florida
There was a weight on the edge of my twin bed. I tried to pull Blanket up close to me, but I couldn't find it. I was scared. Where did it go?
"Good morning, honey. It's your seventh birthday!" Mommy was there, holding Blanket as she drew the blinds behind my bed.
She was still dressed in her nightclothes, and this pretty white box with a huge red bow was at the edge of my bed. "Mommy, I want Blanket!" I told her, sitting up in my pink sheets. "Oh, you don't want your present? Hmm, I'll just take it back then," she said. I smiled at her and she handed me Blanket and the box. Inside was the pretty white dress with a red sash around it. I had tried it on a few days ago when Mommy and I went shopping.
"Happy birthday, squirt," my smelly, older, and noisy brother Sean said from the couch, as I walked from my bedroom to the kitchen. I tried not to slip on the tile with the ruffled white socks I slept in. "Thank you!" I said while going over to the calendar where I had the days crossed off until my birthday, November 9th.
"I knew your mom was the one the moment she said hi to me." Daddy would always tell me this story the night before my birthday. He didn't this year though. Mommy and Daddy are separated; they sat down and talked to us about it. Sean was mad about it. I just wanted Daddy to come home.
Mommy was making a ham and cheese sandwich for Sean's camping trip later. "Yeah right, mom, like I'm going to sit around here all day listening to Brittany and her little Cedar Hill friends sing Miley Cyrus and giggle about that boy band they like," he said.
"It's the Jonas Brothers!" I yelled from Mommy's office where I was coloring in my new Wall-e coloring book. "It's my birthday!"
I took Chompy out of his cage and twirled him around. Then I tied a red ribbon through his snowy fur. Chompy is my pet bunny that Daddy got me for my last birthday. He lives in a cage right next to my bed by the window. "You look so pretty," I told him.
I took Chompy and we went outside to the deck to see where Mommy was. She was out telling the party planner where to set up the bounce house.
"No, not on that side of the yard. It's too sunny over there. Have them move it please," she told her, then turned around and walked inside.
The princess theme was Mommy's idea, with pink and red ribbons intertwining through the trees. There were clowns and a petting zoo set up by the white tent that was in the middle of the backyard.
"Look, Chompy, the party is going to be so much fun!" Chompy wiggled from my hands and hopped around the deck. "Come back, Chompy!" I yelled, and he stopped while almost to the back door. "Good boy," I told him as I kisssed the top of his head.
After this I took a shower, put on the party dress mommy picked out, brushed my hair, and went to go see if anyone was here. I stomped my left foot on the wood floor while staring out to the front yard.
"Honey, it's only two forty-five; the invitation said to come at three. Don't worry, your friends will be here," Mommy said to me. I knew my friends would be here; it was the only thing they talked about at school all week.
"I'm so excited; thanks for inviting me!" Rachel, the new girl at Cedar Hill told me. She skipped away from the jungle gym where I was sitting with my friends, Sophia and Annabelle. All three of them were there right at three, all holding presents.
"Well, if it isn't the birthday girl herself! Happy birthday, honey," Annabelle's mom and Mommy's best friend Natasha said and then gave me a hug.
"Thank you!" I said, as Annabelle walked through the front door.
"Hi!!" Annabelle said and then hugged me. She was wearing a blue dress with the same white flower that her nanny Brianna always wore in her hair.
Sophia and Rachel came together; they were neighbors from the next block. Sophia was dressed in a pink shirt and white shorts, with her red hair tied back. Rachel wore the same outfit, but with a green shirt and blue shorts.
"Happy birthday!" they said together and then hugged me. I followed them towards the backyard, where Natasha and Mommy were greeting each other and setting the presents down on the table.
"Hey, squirt, I'm going to go now. Have a good birthday. Save me some cake." Sean ruffled my hair and gave me a high five.
I followed him to the front door to see if Daddy had shown up yet. Instead, Sean's friends pulled up and start yelling random insults to my brother about my party.
"Save me some cake, won't you, Britt?" Sean's friend Brandon yelled from the driver's seat and blew me a kiss. I giggled and nodded my head. Sophia, Annabelle, and Rachel had joined me at the front door. They giggled too and then ran back inside.
"Dude, she just turned seven. That's nasty. Let's go," Sean said before waving to us, then Brandon sped out the driveway.
It was almost four thirty. We'd had our faces painted, played with the baby goats, and jumped in the bounce house.
"Why isn't Daddy here yet?" I asked Mommy, as she tied my hair back with a red bow.
"Honey, I don't know. He'll be here soon though; just go have fun with your friends," she said, and then turned back to Natasha. I went and hid behind the back door and listened to their conversation. I knew I shouldn't be listening, but I didn't like that Mommy was upset.
"You would think, Natasha, that David would be here on time to his own daughter's birthday party. I gave him exact times so he wouldn't be late. I don't want him disappointing her," she said as she took a sip from her wine glass.
"Em, he'll be here. He always runs late, don't worry. He won't not show up. That little girl is his world," Natasha told her.
"She misses him and that kills me, but I'm not ready to just say I forget about it and that he can come home," Mommy said.
"Talk to him. Let's go find the girls so we can cut the cake. Believe me, Emily, he'll be here," Natasha told her.
I smiled, then ran back to go find my friends who had brought Chompy from my room to the backyard.
"Daddy will be here soon with my present!" I told them and picked up Chompy.
"Do you know what he got you?" Sophia asked while picking at the grass.
"No, but he said it was something big. I did ask for a new dollhouse," I told her while petting Chompy.
"Maybe he got you that," Sophia said, and then sprinkled the pieces of grass all over Chompy.
"Girls! It's time for cake!" Mommy yelled from the back door. We all turned around and then got up. I tucked Chompy into the sash of my dress, grabbed Rachel's hand, and skipped towards the house.
Seven candles were lit on top of the vanilla ice cream cake with rainbow sprinkles. Sophia, Annabelle, Rachel, and I crowded around the dining room table. Natasha and Mommy started singing, "Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you," then everyone else piped in.
While they sang, I looked up from the candles burning. Where is he? What if he doesn't come? Did he forget? He promised he'd be here. I just wanted Daddy to be here.
My wish came true. I heard his voice.
"Where's my birthday girl?" he shouted from the front door. My eyes widened and I sprinted to the front door.
He hadn't changed at all. His grey hair was still short with his Huskies shirt and blue jeans. His sunglasses hung around his neck along with a chain that had a ring around it. He got down on his knees and I jumped into his arms. He laughed and pulled me closer.
"Have you gotten bigger?" he asked, then started humming a song he would always sing around the house. Mommy hated it because it seemed that was the only song he would hum. He would hum it while making pancakes in the morning, taking out the trash, or cleaning out Chompy's cage.
"Daddy! I missed you. Come see the party Mommy planned for me. It's so pretty. Sean isn't here. He's camping with Brandon. Chompy is having fun too. I'm so happy you're here!" I didn't let go of him, and he picked me up to walk to the kitchen.
"Slow down, baby. I'm here. We'll go play. Let me go say hi to your mom," he said.
"Natasha ... Emily," he said as we walked into the kitchen.
"David," they said in unison. Mommy cut the cake and handed it to the four of us.
"How about you girls follow me outside and we'll eat cake and talk about the Jonas Brothers?" Natasha said to us. We followed her outside, but I remembered I needed something inside.
"I'll be right back, I want some juice," I told Rachel who nodded while stuffing her face with cake.
I saw Mommy's face change. She sighed, and then a crash. She had broken a wine glass in the sink. "Damn," she said. At the same time, Daddy walked in, still humming.
"David, you're an hour late. Where were you? Forget about your daughter's birthday party? I swear sometimes you can be so frustrating. Stop humming and have a normal conversation with me," Mommy said while her back was turned to Daddy.
"No, I didn't forget. I had to grab something at the office. I have an early meeting on Monday. I forgot my notes. Chill, I'm here now," he said as he cut himself a piece of cake.
"I won't 'chill,' David. She's been waiting for you," she said, and I could see tears forming in her eyes. I wanted to run and give her a hug, but I couldn't have them knowing I was listening.
"Emily, I know that. I'm here now. Let's not fight right now. It's her birthday," he said.
"She keeps asking when you're coming home. What am I supposed to say?"
"Tell her that it's up to you. I want to come home, but it's you that won't let me. I told you I'm sorry. Nothing happened with Stacy. She's just my secretary. I promise. I love you." He went over to where she was standing and held on to her shoulders.
"It's not that easy. We can't do this right now. We'll talk about this on Tuesday with Dr. Marshall. Brittany is probably looking for us," she said and started for the door.
Who's Stacy? Who's Doctor Marshall? Why doesn't Mommy seem to love Daddy anymore?
"Boo!" I yelled, as Daddy walked through the sliding glass door.
"Were you standing there this whole time, silly girl?" he asked and I shook my head. "Come on, honey, let's go play with your friends. Show me everything your mom planned for this party. You only turn seven once, you know." He tickled me as I screamed.
Everyone left around six, with their gift bags of Jonas Brothers key chains and Miley Cyrus shirts.
"Daddy, I want to open presents now. Can we?" I asked after I changed out of my party dress.
"Sounds good to me. Let's go," he said, and we went to the living room.
"Sophia bought me tickets to the Jonas Brothers concert. Annabelle bought me a gift card to Limited Too, and Rachel bought me tickets to the Demi Lovato concert!"
"Hmm, those are nice presents, Brit. Maybe you don't want mine now," he said as he put the tickets on the refrigerator.
"No, Daddy, I want it," I said and he laughed.
"It's in the corner - go unwrap it," he said, and I ran to the other side of the room.
Daddy had gotten me what I wanted. A dollhouse of our house. A doll of each of us was there too.
"Look, there's Chompy!" I said and giggled. He shook his head and laughed.
"Time for bed, birthday girl," Mommy said, as she walked into the living room.
"Alright, mommy. Can daddy tuck me in too?" I asked while yawning and walking towards the stairs.
"If he wants to he can," she said, and I turned around to see what he said. He shook his head and picked me up.
For the first time since he had been away they both tucked me into bed.
"Good night, sweetheart, I love you," Daddy said and kissed the top of my head.
"Good night, Mommy. Good night, Daddy. I love you," I said, then shut my eyes.
They silently walked out of my room, and left the door cracked open. The front door slammed at the same time.
"Yo! Mom? Dad? Squirt? I'm home!"
Mommy yelled, "In here!"
Sean walked in. His shirt looked damp and his jeans were tucked into his boots.
"Mommy, is Daddy coming home?" I asked. They looked at each other.
"Honey, it isn't that simple. I wish it were," Mommy started.
"Squirt, don't worry about it. They'll figure it out," Sean said, and he walked over to my bed.
"Okay. Did you have fun today?" I asked and then yawned.
"How 'bout I tell you about it tomorrow?" Sean said and I nodded.
"I love you, baby. Daddy isn't going anywhere," Daddy said, and Mommy actually smiled.
"If you want, you can stay and we can talk a bit. Only if you want," she said.
"Sounds good to me. Too much sugar. I'm surprised she's going to sleep this early," he laughed, and then started whistling.
"Night, Mom, Dad," I heard Sean say.
"Night, son," Daddy said.
"My wish did come true. Daddy is coming home," I whispered to Chompy, and then fell asleep with Blanket next to me.