Copyright © 2013 Kim at Mogillow Arts

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Kim at Mogillow Arts


“Eighteen, nineteen, twenty . . . ready or not here I come,” Amy yelled, as her hands flew down from her face.  Standing up from the blue, wooden porch where she’d sat, she took a long and deep breath: sunshine and Hide and Go Seek, she’d found Heaven!

The stairs swayed a bit as she took a giant leap forward, towards the grass below.  Her feet made a loud “Bam” as she landed and she giggled, glad that being a girl didn’t mean you always had to be graceful.  She enjoyed being silly, especially if it involved a game of Hide and Go Seek and boys!  Nothing made Amy happier than when she beat the neighborhood boys at the games they played.  In fact, she’d saved her allowance up all year so she could have a special t-shirt made up that said, “Girls Rule, Boys Drool!”  She wore the shirt proudly.

The back porch on the Barlow’s house acted as home base for Hide and Go Seek.  Hana and Austin Barlow live here with their mom and dad.  Hana, the older of the Barlow children, had been Amy’s best friend since they were babies.

The Barlow’s house, a blue and white farmhouse, stood proudly on the property.  Amy’s mom said the original builders laid the first stones for the house in 1885!  This amazed Amy since her great, great grandpa had been born in that year too, so long ago.  The house had large, white wooden shutters on each window with a blue porch that wrapped all around the outside.  At the back of the house, a pea-pod shaped chair hung from a large, steel chain, bolted to one of the porch’s wooden beams.  On summer days, Amy loved to cuddle in the chair and sip iced tea with Hana.  Both girls swung their legs back and forth dreamt of all the things they could do together when they were older.

When the Barlows weren’t home, Amy cuddled in the pea-pod shaped chair and pretended she lived in the Barlow’s house.  She loved to pretend she was grown up and that her imaginary husband would be here soon from his work in the forest at the back of the property.  Amy grinned at the thought of her pretend husband.  A tall and handsome lumberjack, who wore soft flannel blue and red-checkered shirts, with faded jeans and brown work boots.  Amy’s pretend husband always told her how much he loved her and that he missed her whenever he had to be away from her.  He told Amy she had to be the prettiest girl he had ever seen, just as Amy’s dad had said to her mom, a long time ago.  Amy loved to imagine stories like these while she sat and swung.  These stories always made her feel safe and protected.  Lately, in fact, Amy found she stayed a bit longer on the porch, even when her mom called her in for dinner.  In Amy’s pretend world, everyone, especially Amy, could only be happy.

Amy shook her head to loosen these thoughts from her mind.  “Focus on the game,” she told herself.  She breathed deeply and began, once again, to look for the hidden children.  A tiny, grey cat distracted Amy for a moment as it darted across the lawn and ducked under some rose bushes.  However, Amy’s attention soon changed as the greenness of the Barlow’s lawn caught her attention.  The Barlow’s lawn looked to be the deepest green Amy had ever seen.  From far away the lawn looked like a carpet.  Amy she tried now to spot a dandelion that might have grown in the grass. She smiled.  A dandelion’s yellow flower always reminded Amy of the sun.  Jacob, Amy’s friend from school, told her that if you blew on a dandelion when it only had seed heads on it, and then if all the seed heads blew away from the flower, your wish might come true!  Amy loved to do this.  She loved also to watch as the dandelion’s seeds spun and flew around before she landed on the ground.  Amy’s dad and Mr. Barlow, on the other hand, went crazy when they spotted a dandelion that had grown in their lawns.  Each year, Amy’s dad and Mr. Barlow had a competition to see whose lawn looked to be the greenest and the most weed free.  To spot a dandelion deemed disaster!  If they spotted one in the grass, they snapped off the pretty, yellow flower before the dandelion could turn to seed.  Then they measured up weed killer and poured it all over the poor dandelion.  To watch this depressed Amy because she knew it meant she never got the chance to make that wish.  Regardless though, to Amy’s dad and Mr. Barlow’s competition, dandelions and, any other weeds in fact, could mean defeat.  Amy wished they could see dandelions in the same way she did.

A rustle of the leaves behind Amy shifted her attention.  Amy’s spirits were high.  Hide and Seek at the Barlow’s was never a bore or difficult because there were so many big trees on the property to hide behind.  The trees were old.  Amy couldn’t even fit her arms around some of their trunks because they were so large.  They stood straight and tall, and reminded Amy of a giant’s legs.  Amy felt sure their treetops touched the sky.  Amy loved the smaller, skinny trees too that decorated the yard.  These trees were just the right size for Amy to hug.  She liked to pretend these trees were alive and hugged her back.  Sometimes, when alone, Amy talked to the trees and told them about all sorts of things that went on in her life.

All of a sudden, Amy heard a noise and looked to the left as a bird flew up from the blackberry bushes by the garden shed.  Amy remembered now when Mr. Barlow told her how pigs, cows, chickens, and even goats used to live on these properties.  Mr. Barlow had shown her an old chicken coop right beside the garden shed still left over from these farm days.  Old and run down now, most of the coop’s dark, brown paint had chipped and flaked and the wire that covered the chicken coop had turned orange with rust.  Amy wondered if the blanket of blackberry bushes that covered the coop was the only thing that held the tangle of wire together.  Mr. Barlow said that when chickens lived in this chicken coop, they laid eggs for breakfast each morning.  He said that instead of an alarm clock, a rooster woke the people up on the farm, at sunrise, with a “Cockle-doodle-do!”  Amy giggled now as she remembered how Mr. Barlow imitated a rooster.  “Cockle-doodle-do, Cockle-doodle-do!” he had cried as he bent his knees, and curled his arms way up under his armpits, and flapped his arms like they were wings, while he yelled “Cockle-doodle-do, Cockle-doodle-do!” Mr. Barlow bent his knees so far forward that Amy thought for sure they were going to touch the ground.  Amy remembered how Mr. Barlow had made her giggle that day.

Amy loved to hear all the stories that Mr. and Mrs. Barlow told about their house and the neighborhood.  She loved to curl up on their couch with Hana in the wintertime, sip hot chocolate and listen about how their neighborhood used to be farmland and not a cul-de-sac.  Some of the Barlow’s stories warmed Amy’s heart almost as much as the hot chocolate did!  Some of the stories made Amy think her tummy might fall right out of her belly because they made her laugh so hard.

Amy smiled now as she surveyed the backyard and began to search again more for her hidden friends.  She knew all the other kids in the neighborhood loved the Barlow’s backyard as much as she did.  It was the best spot play Hide and Go Seek in, with its big, old trees and bushes.  Amy felt a twinge of competitiveness as it brewed within her.  She thought, “After all, isn’t it a good spot to hide that helps you beat the boys at the best game in the world, Hide and Go Seek?”


Amy lived in a small, red brick house.  Last summer, Amy’s dad had painted its trim a cozy, eggshell white.  The white trim gave the house its own special sparkle.

Amy’s house had a smaller yard than the Barlow’s yard.  Yet, because Amy’s mom loved to garden so much, there was always a plant in bloom with pretty flowers.  Right now Amy’s gardens bloomed with purple, yellow, and white winter pansies.  Amy loved to spend time with her mom and help her plant all the different plants for the seasons.  She loved, especially, to plant the fall bulbs.  Amy always made sure each bulb had enough cedar chips around it, to protect it from any winter chill.  Amy couldn’t wait, each year, to see how many flower heads popped up as the snow began to disappear.  Amy liked to think that each flower received its own special kiss from the sun, as its head poked up from the ground.  Last year, much to Amy’s surprise, every single bulb she had planted, flowered.  Amy loved the anticipation of each flowers’ arrival, it began with the first snowdrop or paper white as it peeked its head up.  Amy knew then that soon the dark winter days disappeared and with that came the arrival of daffodils and tulips’ happy, colorful faces.  Amy looked forward the sight of their tiny faces.  Amy’s flowers always made the winter feel brighter, not quite so dark and gloomy.  Sometimes Amy pretended she lived in a dollhouse, and imagined she were a doll and that a big girl, who lived in the clouds, could come and play with her.  Amy liked to believe this girl in the clouds helped her with the things Amy had no control of in her life – like when her mom and dad fought.  These days, Amy found that she talked a bit more to the girl in the clouds.  Amy hoped that soon her house became be a happier place to live.

Besides Amy’s house being smaller than the Barlow’s house, it had another distinct difference.  The Barlow’s house had three stories and a cellar whereas Amy’s house only had one floor with a tiny crawl space below.  Amy loved how you could stand up straight inside the Barlow’s cellar and that it always smelled nice.  Amy hated how in her crawlspace, you had to crouch down and crawl around inside it. It always smelled musty and like dirt.  The Barlow’s cellar, on the other hand, always felt warm – it invited you to come inside.  You could get to it from just off the kitchen inside the house.  Amy liked to go down into the cellar with Hana to play when the winter winds made it too cold to play in the yard.  On the other hand, Amy’s crawlspace reminded her of an old abandoned garden shed.  Amy remembered, as a tiny child, how she believed the boogey man lived down there.  Amy didn’t believe in the boogey man anymore, but she still worried about the spiders that she knew lived there.  She’d seen their webs one time when she’d peeked inside.  Amy felt they were the same spiders she’d sometimes see up on her bedroom ceiling at night.  “Yuk,” Amy thought as a chill climbed down her spine.  Amy remembered now when she’d learned about spiders in science class at school last year.  This hadn’t been a good day for her.  Every time she had looked at the spiders, her whole body felt itchy, the worst spot being Amy’s ears.  It scared Amy to think that one of the spiders might try to sneak out of its jar and crawl into her ear.  Amy remembered their ugly, hairy legs made her squeal each time she looked at them.   Amy; however, did feel smart that day after school.  She had come home and actually explained to her parents that spiders are not insects a told them how spiders were not “arachnids” because they have eight legs and two body segments, not six legs and three body segments like insects have.  Yet regardless, the fact remained that even with this knowledge, Amy still didn’t like spiders.  To her, spiders were the creepiest, yuckiest and most repulsive things that ever walked the face of this planet!  Amy wished her house had three floors, like the Barlow’s house and she didn’t have to worry about the spiders in her basement anymore.  Amy had never seen a spider in any of the bedrooms in the Barlow’s house.  Hana told Amy that Skippy, their beagle, hunted and killed any spiders that appeared in her room.  Amy thought this might be true.  After all, Skippy, a hunting Beagle, had many “First Place” blue ribbons with his name written down them in gold letters.  Mr. Barlow displayed these ribbons on a wall in the family room right beside a picture of Skippy.  This room, with its wall, had always been Amy’s second favorite part of the Barlow’s house.  Amy’s favorite part still had to be the house’s big windows.  The windows were even taller than the height Amy stood, with big white shutters that could be open or shut.  Mrs. Barlow always closed them up tight at night, and then in the morning, opened them wide.   Whenever Amy stayed over, Mrs. Barlow always let Amy open them.  Amy felt she could almost touch the sky when she looked out of the Barlow’s windows.  Some days, Amy wished she could curl up on the clouds, which seemed so close to her, and sleep there for just a little while.

To continue reading the entire story and let Little Willow gently guide you and/or your child(ren) through the sometimes scary and intimidating waters of being a child in a marriage that could ultimately result in divorce click below.  A controversial yet necessary topic, this needs to be discussed with your child(ren), so they never feel alienated or alone! To purchase my eBooks simply click below: 

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