I was “home” this weekend visiting family. It’s funny we are all far from our childhood home and our parents have long past on but spending time with my sisters always feels like home no matter where we are. From the belly laughs to the tears it all feels just right. I am reposting this story, which is one of my favorites, in honor of spending time with loved ones.
Baby Girl woke up startled she didn’t recognize the loud voices in her home that morning. Strange things had been happening for days. Stuff was disappearing from all the rooms; like the picture frames on the mantel and the books her sisters liked to read to her at night. There now were big boxes all over the house. New ones appeared each time something else went missing. Nothing seemed to be where it should be, and the whole family was too busy to play with her.
Suddenly Baby Girl realized she was alone in the room and she was scared. She could feel the hair on the back of her neck stand stiff against her collar, but she had to go to the bathroom, and she was hungry, so she quietly ventured out into the hallway. Baby Girl peered out from behind the long wall. She did not see Lovey or Annie. Where had they gone without her so early in the morning? She called out to them as two big men crossed in front of her with the boxes. They smiled at her but went on their way carrying boxes out the open door. She glared at them. Where was Mama or Dad? Baby Girl called out again. No one answered.
Since the front door was open and the big men were not around, she decided to let herself out and go to the bathroom. She knew Mama and her sisters did not like her to go out by herself, but she was just going to the backyard. She had done it many times with the girls. She started creeping along the side of the house, the gate was closed, and she couldn’t open it. She continued slowly and carefully, close to the fence until she found a spot. Business was done but still no sign of her family. She couldn’t even hear them. She went back to the front of the house to check. Did those men have anything to do with her family’s disappearance? She sniffed the air – nothing. Should she worry?
Sometimes Mama and Dad went for a walk in the woods behind the house early in the morning before everyone else was up. Maybe Lovey and Annie went with them this morning. Baby Girl knew how to get to the woods. She would walk along the long white fence until the end and then walk into the woods no further than the Big Pointy Rock. Her sisters always promised their parents that they would go no further than the Big Pointy Rock so that Mama could still see them from the kitchen window. Baby Girl was getting hungrier; she wanted to find everyone so that she could get some breakfast. Off she went into the woods.
Lovey and Annie had gone with Mama up the street with a box of baby toys and books for the new neighbors. Dad went to take a few things to the dumpster. Lovey and Annie agreed to give those things to their babies because they were big girls now and would be getting Big Girl things in the new house. As they were walking back, Lovey and Annie noticed that the movers had left the front door wide open. They ran the rest of the way calling out to Baby Girl. The movers said they had just seen her near one of the bedrooms, but she was not in the house! She had not eaten her breakfast. The girls went outside and called again. They shouted her name all around the house and at the end of the fence.
In the woods, Baby Girl had followed a big green lizard past the Big Pointy Rock until it ran up a tall tree. She couldn’t reach it but as she was looking up, she spotted a big beautiful dragonfly and followed it as it danced in the air through the woods. She did not hear her family calling, but she did hear a splash from the gurgling of a brook nearby. Fish were jumping out of the water! She wanted to catch one of those, it smelled like food, and she remembered she was hungry.
Back at the house, the girls were upset, and Mama and Dad were worried. They had to leave soon, and they could not find Baby Girl anywhere. They put the last boxes in the car. As she hugged them goodbye, the neighbor next door, Mrs. Levy, promised to keep an eye out for Baby Girl and would call them right away. “I’m sure she’s just having an adventure. She’ll be back.” She reassured them.
In the woods, Baby Girl paced back and forth along the edge of the water, she wanted to catch the fish but hated getting her feet wet. She heard rustling in the bushes and looked up to see two baby deer. The deer are back Baby Girl thought with excitement. She forgot about the fish and ran after the deer. She ran and ran but couldn’t catch the deer. The baby ran straight to Mama and Dad Deer who stomped their feet at Baby Girl. She stopped in her tracks and realized she was standing in front of the Big Pointy Rock. She remembered she was hungry and headed toward the house. She hoped Mama and Dad and Lovey and Annie were back.
To her surprise Baby Girl found the gate to the yard open; and so was the screen door to the back porch. She discovered her bowls were on the back porch. How strange she thought, but things had already been odd for days. She was glad because she was sooo hungry. After she ate, she wanted to go inside and lay in her bed; she was tired. She called at the door for Mama or Dad or Lovey and Annie, but no one came.
Just as she was going to check to see if the front door was still open, she saw Mrs. Levy coming toward her. She liked Mrs. Levy; she smelled like food and always had a special treat for her. “Baby Girl, where have you been? You had us all worried! I heard you barking and called your family. Lucky for you they were not too far yet. They are on their way back to come for you. Let’s go to my house to clean you up before they get here.” Mrs. Levy picked her up and took her home. When she was clean, she lay on the rug by the door and waited for her family.
When they arrived, there were hugs and kisses everywhere. They were all glad to see each other. In the car, Lovey and Annie took turns holding her tight. They told her they were afraid she was lost and they didn’t want to go to their new home without her. Baby Girl didn’t understand all the fuss. She was home. She was where she wanted to be all along, snuggled in between Lovey and Annie as they all took a nap in the backseat of the car.