Pat Jeanne Davis writes from Philadelphia, PA where she lives with her husband and two sons. Her stories, essays and articles have appeared in Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul books (3), Guideposts,The Lookout, GRIT Magazine, Brave Hearts, Bible Advocate, Renewed and Ready, Faith & Finances-In God We Trust, God Answers Prayers, Blessings for Mothers, Woman’s Touch, Woman Alive Magazine and Take-A-Break Magazine (UK). She contributes devotionals to www.ChristianDevotions.us. Pat is seeking publication of an inspirational historical novel set in WWII. Visit her at www.patjeannedavis.com.
In three days we planned to return home to Philadelphia after we’d spent two weeks vacationing in England. This Saturday was to be an outing in the park, but my husband was nowhere in sight. I watched large white clouds move across a bright blue sky and paused to listen to a band playing marches.
Then I rushed to catch up with my eight- and ten-year-old boys. “Where’s Dad?”
“Somewhere.” Tommy laughed.
Tomorrow Tom and I would have our twentieth wedding anniversary here in his homeland. But today I wasn’t in the mood for celebrating. I felt neglected. During the period we’d been here visiting his family and friends, there were times when I felt excluded. And other days he’d be out on business, leaving me with our boys in unfamiliar surroundings. Wasn’t this to be our family’s annual vacation?
My sons and I stopped by a stream and watched the ducks glide by.
My oldest held up a camera. “Mom, take my picture.”
“All right,” I groaned.
Above the water was a bridge and multicolored flowers hung along the side of a bandstand next to it. “Stand over there.”
I took off my glasses, dropping them into my bag. “Josh, please hold this.”
From the corner of my eye I watched him. “Stop swinging that around, Josh!” Had I closed the handbag?
The three of us started back to the parking lot, where Tom was standing beside the open door of our rental car. “Ready to go, then?”
“I see you’ve been waiting for a while.” I wondered if my sarcastic tone divulged my ire.
After the car got moving, I put my glasses on. I still felt disoriented from driving on the wrong side of the road. But now I not only had an aching head, but my vision seemed blurred. Fear took over. I put my head back closing my eyes. What’s going on here?
“Hey, Mom, you lost the lenses in your frame.”
I opened my eyes only momentarily relieved. “What’ll I do without my specs?” I cried.
“They fell out, but I put them back into your bag.”
“Oh, Joshua! I knew that would happen.”
My husband pulled over, then turned the car around. “We’ve got to go back and search the spot where you stood.”
“It’s getting late,” Tommy complained.
We searched the grass, the walkways, and the bank of the stream for my missing lenses.
“It’s no use. I’ll replace it when we get back home.”
Then my hubby got down on all fours to search. “Just one more swipe around.”
Now I began to see Tom more with my heart and less with my eyes. I told myself that I needed to appreciate better this man I had married for all his expressions of love for me.
It was getting dark by now. “You’ve done enough, Hon. Please, let’s go.”
Hands and knees dirty, Tom got up.
For our anniversary the next day, my hubby wanted to surprise me. We left the kids with their grandmother and headed out the door. The route seemed familiar, although I was now somewhat visually impaired. I closed my eyes as I listened to the CDs we’d brought along.
Then Tom parked the car across from the park we’d visited only yesterday. I was about to speak when he opened his wallet and smiled. “I picked these up while you were taking all those pictures with the boys.” In his hand were tickets to my favorite musical at the playhouse in the park.
He placed them in my lap. “Only pair of tickets left for the last show.”
Then he took my hand. “I came back with my torch last night while you were sleeping.” He smiled and in my hand placed my intact glasses. “Should be able to see the stage clearly now.”
Tears filled my eyes. “Where did you find my lenses?”
“Not far from the stream.”
Tom bent over and kissed me. “Happy anniversary, Sweetheart.”
As we entered the playhouse, I noted on the marque that this production was part of their twentieth anniversary season. As the performers on stage sang “Love Is the Reason for Living,” I closed my eyes and again saw more clearly with my heart.
I had all my pictures developed from our vacation before we left for home. We pored over those taken in the park with the kids and on our anniversary celebration in the restaurant and outside the playhouse.
Then Tommy saw the one of himself in the park. “That’s the time dad crawled all over the place. It was so embarrassing. I’ll never do that!”
I laughed. “Oh, don’t count on it. That’s what love is all about, kid.”
Tom laughed and tousled our son’s hair. “You would if you forgot your anniversary only to be reminded by a theater marque the day before.
My hubby looked at me and winked.