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Hidden Blossom Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Ruth Garnes, United States Mar 21, 2006
Child & Youth Rights   Short Stories
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Hidden Blossom Through my slow lethargic daughter, I learned that things were not always the way they appeared. Instead of turning my head, I learned to embrace the possibility that endless capabilities were sometimes stored up in people and things that we sometimes misjudge. Now ever time Lee runs, I see hope in the form of a child who has blessed me in many ways.

My Husband Bill and I have seven children; four adopted daughters and three birth children. It was Labor Day weekend: the entire family went to a bible camp weekend getaway. Of the seven, it was my daughter Lee who would laugh as I ran around trying to catch them. I could hear her laughter every time I picked up my feet and placed them down.

She thought it was funny simply to watch me as I ran. The smile I was getting from my daughter’s face gave me the energy to embrace her like I was one of her peers. When we decided to go horse back riding, it was Lee’s horse that I trailed behind. All this was not intentional. If I were to choose one of my children to run and play with, it would have been one of the others. I thought any of the others were a whole lot more fun. Yet, it was this child who was brightening my day. She was doing so in what I would call an unusual way.

I always enjoyed hearing the laughter of my children and seeing their faces light up as they ran, played, or dazzled me with their competitive spirits. Our oldest girl, Amanda, was blossoming into a beautiful singer. She always coveted and aimed to have the leading part in most of her performances. She was on the track team in her school and took advanced classes.

Our second daughter Alexis was extremely athletic and ran like the wind. She also had a lovely voice and was on the school track team. Our third daughter Amber was very active and wanted to be a part of everything. Our youngest and only biological daughter, Andrea, was very charming and knew how to get her own way. Our sons Alexander and Ren were overwhelmed by having five sisters who waited on them day after day.

Lee was daughter number four. She too had her own talents. Nevertheless, of all of my children, she was the slowest in every way. She had a beautiful singing voice, but I was convinced that she was not going to become a soloist. She was just too bashful. Even though she sang with her siblings, she would never take the lead whenever they participated in anything.

From the first time we met, as the others sparkled and shined, I was captivated by her beautiful, quiet smile. Even when she would perform with a sea of people, I thought her individual performance was worth all of my attention. However, if you would meet this child today, she probably would not impress you in any way. She may not glance your way, but if she did, not a single word she would say, but to give a little smile.

Lee was the youngest of the four daughters we adopted. Bill was a little taken aback by her lack of energy: “Is there something wrong with that baby?” he asked me.

I smiled and replied, “No she is just a quiet little one.”

“Why is her tongue always sticking out of her head?” He asked.

“She sucks her tongue,” I returned, not revealing to him that I too was a very quiet child who sucked her tongue.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am very sure,” I responded. My eyes followed her as she smiled and ran in the opposite direction. She had what appeared to me to be a bit of an unsteady gait. She was only fourteen months old when we first met, so I dismissed her unsteadiness as age appropriate. Her two year old sister was full of energy and in my opinion, bouncing off the walls. Bill was drawn to her. I kept my eyes on the little one whose smile I could see, but there weren’t any words to go along with it.

One summer, to nurture our children’s athletic ability, we signed them all up for a track team. The children competed very well during the track and field season, winning numerous ribbons and medals. One of the goals of the track team was to go to the junior Olympics. The final event that was chosen for the children to compete in, in order to qualify, was the one they did well in all season.

Lee had won a couple of medals and ribbons during the season. The coach however, wanted to ensure that she had a spot in the state finals, so right at the last minute he placed her in the high jump. She qualified. Four of my other children also qualified to go to state finals. Based on their performance all year, I had my presumptions of which of the children would make it to the junior Olympics. I was very wrong; only one of my children made it. It was Bailee.

Several others from the track team qualified in various events and we flew to Detroit, Michigan. During the competition, I held my breath every time it was Lee’s turn to jump. I would breathe a sigh of relief whenever she landed on the mat. Again, we had our preconceived ideas of how the team was going to do and the medals we were going to walk away with. Wrong again. Lee won! The fact was she placed sixth. That day sixth was the same as number one to me. As she stood on the podium and received her medal, it was one of the only days I did not see her smile. She kept her hands on her medal as it hung from the ribbon around her neck.

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Writer Profile
Ruth Garnes

Ruth Andrews Garnes: born in Belize the second of six children. She moved to New York City at age eighteen. After studying nursing she worked as an emergency room nurse. Currently resides with her husband and seven children in the Houston Texas area. Having always had a heart for hurting children her writings are to give voice to them.

When all is forgotten or ignored, expressive words linger or get heard. It is important for the hurt and wounded to have a voice, for this purpose, I write.
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