Bare Toes

The little girl's feet padded the ground softly as she chased after her slightly older brother.

Their mother was no where in sight, but the children were so caught up in their little game, they took no notice. Nor would they care too much. It meant they'd be free from all the rules and allowed to run anywhere they wanted. Not that they wanted to go anywhere; they were content enough to simply chase each other around the swing set in their back yard.

The little girl tripped over her own bare toes and plumeted to the ground; when she sat up, she was crying and screaming as if she'd broken something. Of course, this was the nature of todlers.

The mother, hearing the cries through the screen door, dropped the phone and rushed to her daughter's aid.

"There, there, Renna. You're okay. Let mommy kiss it and make it feel better," she said gently, gathering Renna into her arms and clutching her close.

Renna, which was actually short for Laurenna, stopped crying almost immediately. Meanwhile, her brother stared up at her, clearly bewildered by the incident.

Their mother did not blame the little boy, or tell him to be more careful. She knew that todlers were clumsy and often fell, so after a moment, she put the little Renna down and let them continue to play.

"Sorry, Jen. My kids were crying. So, what was it you needed to talk about?" she said, returning to the conversation she'd previously held with her girl friend.

"Matey," Renna said, stumbling over her brother's name. "Matey, slow down!"

Little Renna could not pronounce Matt, or Mathew, so her brother's nick-name had been Matey since the day Renna could talk.

Hours later, the sun eventually set, and Renna's mother was tucking them in. She recited a prayer in the form of a poem to each of them, kissed them on the forehead, and turned of the light.

It had been a tradition, since she herself had been a child.

"Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Guide us through the starry night, and wake us up in morning's light. Should I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take," she said softly, every night.

The mother knew there would be a time when they were too old for being tucked in, and as much as she couldn't wait to see the wonderful young adults they would grow to be, she didn't want them to grow up. The very idea saddened her, almost to tears.

The End

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