She gains her balance after pulling herself onto the roof. Although, she has scraped herself many-a-time on the rough shingle tiles getting to her favorite place, she is now an expert at achieving this feat and now does it scrap-free. This sanctuary of solitude provides a place where she can let out all her frustrations, dream that she is a princess held hostage in a tower about to be rescued by her knight in shining armor, or just be left alone to gaze at the vast universe above. The summer months make it comfortable to sit out under the stars and imagine how different things could be. As she settles in, she waits for the next shooting star to appear so she can make her wish. Most times she is left disappointed, but tonight, she sees it, the unmistakable streak of light shooting across the sky. “There it is! There it is!” She exclaims out loud, almost losing her balance jumping up and down in excitement. “I knew I would see you again!” She closes her eyes and says, “Oh, I wish I could have a daddy. Please send me a daddy.”
Still with her eyes closed and her hands clasped together, a voice calls, “Hannah! Hannah, get down here! What have I told you about going up there? You are going to fall and break your neck!”
Rolling her eyes, Hannah replies, “Ok, I’m coming down. I’ll be right there.”
Hannah’s mother, Laura is waiting for Hannah to climb down from the roof. Laura has her arms crossed and is tapping her foot impatiently when Hannah reaches the ground. “Little girl, I have told you not to go up there! What would I do if you fell?”
Hannah, looking at the ground, just shrugs her shoulders.
Laura takes Hannah by the arm and drags her in the house while saying, “I’ll tell you what would happen. I would have to take off work and find a babysitter for your brothers. Then, I would probably have to take on another job to compensate for the work I would miss. Not to mention, the bills, oh the bills…” Laura trails off.
Hannah pretends to listen to her mother but is distracted by her three-year-old twin brothers, Alexander and Andrew. Alex has hit Andy with a toy hammer and instead of crying, Andy attacks back with a toy truck. Hannah finds this amusing. “Hannah, are you listening to me?” asks Laura.
“Yes, Mom. I heard you. No more climbing on the roof.”
“Hannah, I need you here to help me with the boys. You know it’s just us after we lost your father,” Laura tries to explain.
Twelve-year-old Hannah thinks back to when her father, Luke, died. He was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease when he was a boy. He wasn’t expected to even live as long as he did. Hannah remembers he used to call her Sport because he would play catch with her and other sports. Laura was always either working or in school, so most days it was Hannah and Luke. This father/daughter bond helped develop Hannah into the Tomboy she is today. She misses him so much. She holds back tears as she thinks, Why is life so unfair?
Luke and Laura were classmates turned childhood sweethearts. Laura knew all about Luke’s disease and vowed to be with him for the rest of his life. When Luke developed pneumonia just a little over a year ago, his body wasn’t able to fight off the infection and he succumbed to his disease. Laura has since had to be the mother and the father to the three children. Hannah helps out as much as she can, but Laura is stressed having to support them all on her own. The little bit of insurance money that Luke was able to give to Laura when he passed has already been spent. Laura works as a secretary/law assistant for the Granger and Moore Law Firm. Laura had dreams of becoming a lawyer and Luke was supporting her through law school. Laura ultimately decided to put her dreams aside when she had the twins, since she knew it would be too much for Luke to handle. Laura never minded putting her dreams on the back burner for her family, but now it was all up to her.
The next day, Laura is rushing out of the house to get to work. As she gathers her belongings, Laura is barking out a list for Hannah, “…And don’t forget naptime is at 11:00, there is food for them in the fridge. Please don’t microwave anything too long like last time.” Laura shoots Hannah a knowing look.
Hannah blushes as she remembers the time she burned popcorn in the microwave. The smell lasted for a least a month.
Laura continues, “And please wash the dishes and do one load of clothes. And remember to call me if you need anything.” Laura opens the door and is just about outside, then suddenly stops. She turns around and while juggling her briefcase, purse, keys, and notebook in her arms, she opens her arms welcoming Hannah to give her a hug. As Laura gives Hannah the best hug she can give with the current circumstances, she says, “Hannah, I love you. Thank you. I couldn’t do this without you. I mean that.” Laura follows with a kiss and a wave, runs to their Toyota Camry, and drives away.
Hannah, just watching these events unfold, says out loud, “Love you too, Mom. Well, I better get in here and get ready to watch more Paw Patrol.” Hannah heads in and starts breakfast for herself and her brothers.
At about 2:00pm the phone rings, Hannah answers, “Hello?”
Laura is on the other side of the phone and says, “Hannah, I need you to get yourself and the boys dressed and ready. We are going out for dinner. I want you to meet someone.”
“Please look decent and fix your hair. Make sure the boys have had a bath and look cute,” instructs Laura.
“Ok, but I’m not wearing a dress,” Hannah says firmly.
“You don’t have to, just look nice. I will be home at 5:30 and we are meeting him at 6:00 at Trixie’s. Please be ready when I get home,” Laura says, almost begging.
“Ok, I will,” Hannah replies as she hangs up the phone. Her mind races, Him? Trixie’s? Meet?
Hannah wonders why such a fancy restaurant. She tries to curb her curiosity and does what she is told. She first bathes her brothers. They love being in the bath way too much as they splash and play. After the boys are cleaned, Hannah takes them out of the bath and gets them dressed, she places them in the playpen with the tv on so she can get the bathroom cleaned up and get herself together for tonight. After her shower, she contemplates what to wear. She doesn’t want to be overdressed or underdressed. “I am not wearing a dress! But, if I wear jeans, maybe I can dress them up a bit. She chooses a pair of white-washed jeans, a flowy, sleeveless teal blouse, and silver sandals. Being only twelve, Hannah is not allowed to wear makeup yet, but she can wear lip gloss and jewelry. She decides a long silver necklace and bangle bracelets look good. She takes a look at her reflection and smiles. She seems pleased with her ensemble. She notices the clock says 5:15. She spritzes herself with a girly smelling body spray then goes out to the living room where the twins are playing with blocks in the playpen. “Well, boys, it looks like we are ready with a little time to spare.”
Fifteen minutes later, Laura bounces through the door, extra energetic, “Hey guys, are we ready to go?”
Trying to match her enthusiasm, but sounding more sarcastic, Hannah says, “Yeah, Mom, we are ready to go.” Then Hannah flashes a smile showing all her teeth.
“C’mon, we don’t want to keep Brian waiting. Oh, and Hannah, grab the stroller,” then Laura whispers so the boys wouldn’t hear, “We might get some I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M later.”
Hannah now has a genuine smile at the sound of ice cream, although the name Brian is swimming around in her head. After packing in the stroller, the diaper bag, and purses, Laura, Hannah, Alex, and Andy pile into the Camry and head to Trixie’s.
Once they arrive at Trixie’s, Hannah is holding Alex’s hand and Laura has Andy’s hand. They all walk through the door of the restaurant. It is crowded and noisy with the sound of chatter.
“How many will be dining this evening?” asks the host.
“Oh, we are meeting someone here. Um, last name Moore,” Laura says.
“Yes, he is here waiting. Right this way,” the host leads them through the restaurant. Before he stops at the table, Hannah notices a man stand up. He is in a suit and looks very handsome. He favors her father, Luke, in a way. As they approach the table, Hannah notices his eyes. Yes, they are blue just like Daddy’s. Unsure of what to do, Hannah waits for an introduction.
Laura says, “Hannah, I would like you to meet Brian Moore. He is a partner at the firm I work for. We have been seeing each other for a few weeks and thought it was time for you to meet him.”
“Hello, Mr. Moore,” Hannah says, looking at Brian with an emotionless countenance. She extends the hand that is not holding Alex’s, which happens to be her right hand. Hannah allows Brian to shake her hand, although only displaying a haphazard attempt of her own.
Brian then says to Hannah, “Hello, Miss Hannah. It’s a pleasure to meet you. You can call me Brian.” Hannah, looking at Brian skeptically, starts to soften her expression and slowly forms a slight smile.
As the party of five are settled and have put in their orders, Brian and Laura continue with table conversation. Brian then asks, “Hey Hannah, do you like baseball?”
Hannah perks up, but still cautiously, “Do I? I love baseball!”
“Would you be interested in going to a game with me sometime? We have clients that give us tickets to the game when they are not able to go. And, they have season box seats. We could all go one day,” Brian says, enticingly.
“Uh, yeah!” Hannah says, excitedly as she Looks at Laura eagerly, "Can we, Mom?"
Laura is smiling and nods her head in approval.
This icebreaker allows everyone to comfortably engage in conversation throughout dinner. Once the waiter clears the table, Brian says, “I hope everyone enjoyed dinner,” then to Hannah, with a wink, “What do you say we get some ice cream.”
Hannah’s beaming grin expresses her feelings on that subject.
Later in the evening, Brian and Hannah are walking along the dock next to the lake eating ice cream. Laura is following, pushing the boys in the stroller as they are indulging in their own treat. They all end up at the end of a long dock. Hannah, now a little more comfortable with Brian, asks “Who do you think is the best baseball player of all time?”
Brian replies, “That’s a tough one, there are so many to choose from. I think most people would say Babe Ruth, but I think my choice would be Ted Williams.”
“That’s what my dad says!” exclaims Hannah.
“Great minds think alike. Right, Sport,” says Brian.
The moment Brian says that to Hannah, you couldn’t tell her she wasn’t on cloud nine. She looks up and at that very moment, a bright star in the sky seems to wink at her. Hannah feels it is Luke looking down on her. Hannah feels that even though it will take time, Brian just might be her wish coming true. The extra bright twinkling makes Hannah feel Luke is giving his stamp of approval. She takes this moment to think, Thank you, Dad.