Tuesday, April 8, 2014


"Officer Blair is a policeman," my six-year-old daughter Lucy said, a big smile on her face. "Like daddy was."
We sat at the kitchen table while Lucy gobbled down her after-school snack—peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread and a glass of milk—and I listened to her chatter about her day.
This was an after-school ritual I tried to follow faithfully.
"He's going to be there everyday this week," Lucy said, "talking to classes about stranger-danger and smoking and drugs and other stuff. He wants to talk to small groups—that's why they didn’t pile us all into the gym at once."
I handed Lucy a napkin, and she wiped her mouth. "Was he interesting?" I asked.
Lucy's eyes lit up. "He was, Mom! He's not married—I asked him. And he's tall and has nice brown hair and at the end he said we could ask questions, and I also asked him if he knew Daddy and what happened to him."
"Oh, my. Tell me you didn't."
"I can't lie, Mom. I did. And he said he knew all about Daddy. Daddy was a big hero, and he was at Daddy's funeral with all the other policemen." Lucy gulped her milk, smiled at me, and added, "I told him after all this time I still didn't have a dad, and that you came to pick me up everyday after school."
My breath caught. I thought I might fall off my chair. But why I was surprised? One thing I've learned about being a single mom and raising a precocious six-year-old—who would be seven this Sunday—is that you have to learn to deal with unexpected situations. And Lucy was right. She didn't have a new dad because—well, because I wasn't looking.
The next day when I picked up Lucy at school—I'm a certified public accountant and work from my home—Lucy said, "Officer Blair wants to meet you, Mom."
My heart skipped. I grabbed Lucy's hand and intended to hurry us to my parked car, but we took only a step before we found ourselves standing in front of a perfectly handsome policeman dressed in uniform. "Hi," he said. "I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Officer Tyler Blair...and you're—?"
I swallowed. "Linda Hart."
He seemed nervous. Hesitant. "I...I knew your husband...and I just want to say after two years we all still talk about him—about how brave he was saving that family—mom and dad—three little kids—from a home invasion but—"
Officer Blair halted and now looked a bit sheepish. I'm sure he didn't want to remind Lucy and me what happened that night. He cleared his throat. "Well," he said, "I wanted to let you know...your husband is a hero to be well remembered."
"Thank you."
Then Lucy piped in with, "You should come to our house to see us sometime, Officer Blair."
I cringed. Twin spots of heat flamed in my cheeks. Officer Blair looked pink-faced, his feet shuffling. But he reached into his breast pocket and said, "My card, Mrs. Hart." His blue-eyed smile was absolutely gorgeous. "Cell phone and landline—in case you'd like to talk sometime. Over coffee, perhaps..."
On the way home, belted into her seat next to me in the car, obviously pleased with herself, Lucy said, "You're going to call him, aren't you, Mom?"
What could I tell my daughter? That I was a coward. That since Carl's death I've been afraid to be involved in a relationship. Lord, a police officer would be the last man I'd consider—a man who could easily bring back so many memories. Like the memory of my husband being unbelievably brave, and now look at me...a total coward.
After we'd finished the supper dishes that night, Lucy grabbed Officer Blair's card off the cupboard and studied it. "I'll call if you want me to, Mom."
I frowned at her.  Choices battled in my head. Then sitting at the kitchen table, I punched in the numbers on my cell phone. "Tyler Blair..." I said when he answered, "this is Linda Hart. I was wondering..."
I told him Saturday night we'd be making tons of cupcakes for Lucy's birthday party on Sunday. Even some to take to her class at school on Monday. Would he like to help Saturday night? Tyler and I chatted for nearly ten minutes—maybe more—he was so easy to talk to—and when I hung up, my heart was thumping.
Lucy's eyes were big. "What'd he say?" she asked, breathless.
"He loves working with chocolate frosting."
Lucy flung her arms around my neck. "You're so cool, Mom!"
I sat back in my chair, almost limp. I didn't know about being cool, but I hoped I'd just shown just a bit of bravery. For my daughter's sake. And mine.

The End
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