Sarah sometimes thought she was too hard on Emma; after all she was only 12 years old and hadn’t had a father figure in her life in over five years.
Over the past year she had spent a lot more time in her room after school and in the evening and it was starting to really worry Sarah. She knew she was on-line playing games but she had checked them out quite thoroughly and felt comfortable that they were ok. A friend of hers had shown Sarah how to track websites that Emma visited and she had put software on the computer that wouldn’t allow adult or X-rated sites to be accessed. She had installed the same software on her own computer as well just in case.
Quite often Emma would use her mom’s computer when she wasn’t home because it had a bigger screen and was faster. Kids today need everything right now, if it doesn’t load in 2 seconds they are on to the next thing. Sarah could only imagine how frustrated Emma would have been in the old dial up internet world she had grown up in. Emma didn’t even know what dial up meant; they had never even had a house phone.
Her laptop was not in its usual spot on her desk in the corner by the bedroom window so Sarah knew that Emma had been on it earlier that day. She flipped it open and powered it up. When the screen came up it was a picture of a beautiful little golden retriever puppy with a little red bow. It wasn’t her usual screen saver and it caused her to pause and sit back staring at the picture. It brought back a rush of memories. With shaking hands she quickly closed the laptop and yelled for Emma to come to her room.
Emma took her time coming into her mother’s bedroom and just peaked in around the door concerned about the tone of voice her mother had called for her with.
“What’s up mom?” she asked quietly.
Sarah was upset and was trying to remain calm and not get emotional, “Why did you change my screen saver Emma” she asked.
Emma could clearly see her mother was not mad just very sad. She looked close to tears and Emma suddenly felt very remorseful about what she had done.
“I thought you might like the change mom, it’s been over 5 years” but she didn’t finish the sentence.
Her mother broke down in tears and told her to change it back as she got up and ran into the bathroom. Emma changed it back as quick as she could and then softly walked over to the door of her mother’s bathroom. “Mom?” she quietly whispered through the door.
Sarah didn’t answer but she heard Emma. She was trying hard to stop the tears from running down her cheek.
Emma could hear her and started to cry herself, “I’m sorry Mom, I just thought it would be ok, I didn’t mean to make you cry”. Sarah hated it when Emma cried. She had spent months lying in bed with her when Michael had died holding her while she cried herself to sleep. Then she would lay awake until the early morning fighting back her own tears. It had taken them both a long time to work through the pain of losing Michael and whenever Emma cried now, which wasn’t often, it would bring back memories of those long nights they had worked their way through. She opened the door and wrapped her arms around her daughter whispering to her that it was ok, everything was alright.
Emma looked up at Sarah with her eyes swollen from crying and said “Can we get a puppy mom? I just think it would help and we could put our name on the adoption list with the shelter again just like dad” Sarah cut her off by putting her finger to Emma’s lips.
“I just can’t yet princess, I wish I could, for your sake, but I just can’t yet” she whispered. Emma, unable to hold back the tears, buried her head into her mother’s chest and started to cry again.
Posted on LBH with permisson by Ross Hawse.