We're excited to bring this novel by CatholicMom.com contributing author Sherry Boas to our readers, one chapter at a time. Each Sunday at 9 AM Pacific, a new chapter in Until Lily will be posted. We thank Sherry for her generosity in sharing this book here and encourage you to check out the other books in the Lily series.

[tweet "Chapter 11 of 'Until Lily' by @lily_trilogy: a new chapter each Sunday! #novelgift"]

Did you miss an earlier chapter? Catch up on previous chapters before reading this one!

TV Debris

Agnes is waiting up for me when I get back to the nursing home. She is in the lounge reading Of Mice and Men. It is just after 9:30. The steam rises from the Styrofoam cup in her hand, propped on the tartan green and blue plaid throw that is draped over her legs.

“Hiya, Bev,” she says, laying her open book face down on the table next to her. “Did you get to talk to her?”

“No,” I say. “She was back to sleep by the time I got there.”

“Oh, that’s too bad, Honey.” She rubs the fringe of the throw between her thumb and forefinger. “How is she looking?”

“She looks OK, I guess. Doctors are happy with her signs of progress.”

“Praise God.”

“I really have to talk to her, Agnes,” I say. “There are so many things I need to tell her.”

“I know, Honey.”

“I need to tell her I’m sorry.”

Agnes nods. “There are always things we want to tell our loved ones sorry for,” she says.

“There were just moments,” I say. “There were times when I was not so patient.”

“We all have those moments, Bev.”

“Well, I had too many,” I say. “Things weren’t ever as serious as I made them out to be.”

“Aw, that’s all part of being a parent,” she says, swatting at my guilt as if it were a fly. “Children know how to push your buttons. I never even knew I had so many buttons, 'til I had kids.” Agnes raised four.

I look around, and we are the only ones still up, except for a nurse behind the desk. “So what kind of tea you drinking?”

“Ceylon. Do you want some? My daughter sent me some new bags. I’ll ask for some hot water for you.”

“No, it’s OK,” I say. “I’m beat anyway. I should get to bed. I’m going over to the hospital first thing in the morning.”

“OK, Hon,” Agnes says winking. “It’s a good idea to get some sleep.”

I sit there for a minute, nose pointed toward the floor, analyzing the subtle zigzag pattern of the carpet. “You know, there’s one thing I wish I could say sorry for, but I don’t guess I ever can.”

“Nonsense,” Agnes says firmly. “You can always say you’re sorry. The good Lord always hears you.”

“I think He’s the only one I should ever tell,” I say. “It’s something that would break Lily’s heart.”

Part of me wants Agnes to ask me details, but she isn’t the type to probe. It’s the part of me that wants to tell another living soul, so it can go on record somewhere in the history of man that I am so very sorry that I never wanted Lily, I mean in the beginning. And sometimes I wonder. Did I treat her that way – like I didn’t want her? I tried never to let on. But all those times when I rolled my eyes or drew a heavy sigh or raised my voice, did she understand that I saw her as a burden?

“Being a parent is tough,” Agnes says. “I can’t even imagine what it would be like having kids with special needs. I lost my cool plenty when I was raising my kids. You know, I always said, I thought I was a good person before I had kids. Then I realized just how selfish I was.”

“It is eye-opening,” I say.

“Eye opening?” she snickers. “It can make your eyeballs explode right out of their sockets. My grandkids, they don’t believe their parents when they tell them stories of how I used to lose my temper. I didn’t do it very often, but boy, when I did, look out. One time, I actually smashed a television in the middle of the living room floor.”

“You didn’t, Agnes.” I chuckle at the thought of someone so frail and mild going on a rampage in front of her children. “Not you.”

“Oh, well, you know how it is,” she says, waving her hand disgustedly. “The kids were fighting again about what they were going to watch. So I decided to put a stop to that nonsense once and for all and bust the TV into a billion little bits.” The b’s explode off her lips like the low tones plucked from the strings of a classical guitar.

“Was that effective?” I ask.

“Well, it did stop the fight. For the moment. I still feel bad about it. I just thank God no one was hurt by the debris.”

I just hope Lily was never hurt by my debris.

“Lily, hello Love,” I say, getting my face as close to hers as I can. “I wish you would wake up. I really want to talk to you.” Her face is blank and swollen, like it is fashioned out of grey dough with too much leaven. Her color makes it difficult to believe what the doctor’s had said – that she has made remarkable strides in the last 24 hours. They have taken her off the respirator. They are still giving her oxygen, but she is breathing on her own now.

“Mommy.” Lily’s eyes are still closed.

“I’m here, Baby,” I tell her, squeezing her hand. “Are you OK?”

She turns her head toward me and opens her eyes.

I smile wide at her. “We all miss you so much.” I kiss her hand. “You had an accident, you know. Do you remember, Baby?”

“No.” Her voice is faint like mine. She tries to blink away her confusion.

“I’m so happy you’re OK, Lily.”

“Am I OK? I don- remember.”

"Yes, Love,” I say, stroking her hair. “You’re OK, and you’re going to get better every day.”

“OK,” she says, closing her eyes as if she means to rest them for several minutes. But they immediately open again. She lifts her arm slowly, and looks at the IV secured with three strips of white tape wrapped around her wrist. “This hurts. I wan- it off.”

“After you start eating and drinking, the nurses will take it off,” I say, lightly patting her arm.

“I eat some cheese,” she says. I burst into tears at the realization that my Lily is back. She is truly back. Her old mouse-girl self. American cheese has always been, by far, her favorite food. I ring for a nurse.

“Are you hungry?” I ask, trying to steady my hands to wipe the tears off my cheeks.

“Yeah. I wan- some cheese.”

“OK, Baby, the nurse is coming.”

Suddenly, her eyes look far off, as if she is remembering something from twenty years ago. “Mommy,” she says. “I saw my other Mommy.”

“You saw her?”

“Yeah, I saw her in my heart,” she says. “She smile at me and hold my hand.”

“Oh, that’s so nice, Lily,” I say squeezing her hand. “I really miss your Mommy.”

“Me too,” she says.

“Do you remember Jimmy and Terry were here with you?” I ask. “They just went down to the cafeteria. They’ll be right back.”

“Terry and Jimmy,” she smiles slightly. “Oh, yeah. They came to visit me.”

“Yes, they did.”

“Can they come over to my house?” she asks.

“Not today,” I say smiling at the memory of a chubby 10- year-old in pony-tails, asking that question of grocery clerks and bus drivers and librarians – anyone who would give her a smile and a kind word. “You have to stay in the hospital for a few days.”


“You were hurt and now you have to regain your strength,” I say, patting her hand. “The doctors and nurses are going to help you.”

Then, Lily, for the first time since the last time she was with me at the nursing home, erupted into a full smile. “I love doctors," she says.

I imagine she might be referring to one, in particular. Even an old woman like me can’t help but notice how beautiful he is. Very tall. Very brown, with deep Latin eyes and the thickest head of hair I’ve ever seen. Lily has always been fond of men. Any time we got together with other families, all the children would run off and play, but Lily would loiter in the living room with the adults, waiting for the other kids’ father to notice her. After she’d successfully charmed him with her fat-cheeked smile, she’d grab his hand and lead him to the toy she wanted to play with. Then she’d sit down and pat the ground, inviting him to sit with her. If he took her up on it, she would be his shadow for the rest of the evening, calling him Daddy and manipulating him into being her personal playmate, until I’d shoo her away for the seventh or eighth time with my repetitious admonition that it’s not polite to be a Daddy hog.

Although, sometimes it was quite useful. You know that feeling you get when you look in the rear view mirror and realize there’s a cop back there. It’s a multi-faceted emotion – disbelief, fear, indignation, guilt and shame. Well, 6-year-old Lily must not have read any of that on my face, because she had only elation when the solemn-faced officer with a heavy dark mustache appeared at the window of our Dodge Caravan.

“Good morning, ma’am,” he said in a robotic voice. “Driver’s license, registration and insurance, please.”

I dug into my purse. A wadded up tissue, a sanitary napkin and a lint-covered raisin tumbled out as I extracted my wallet.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” he asks, not looking at me, but somewhere far off down the street.

“Uh, no, officer,” I said, managing a polite smile as I stuffed everything that was not my wallet back into my purse, including, for some reason, the raisin. “I don’t.” I hoped it was something as benign a bad brake light.

“Do you know what the speed limit is at Neely?”

“Um, 40?” I stuck my fingers between the Macy’s charge card and the grocery store membership to pinch out my license.

“No, it’s 35. Do you travel this road often?”

“Every day to bring the kids to school,” I said. “I guess I never noticed the speed limit.”

He shook his head. His pen made scratching sounds on a yellow form attached to his clip board.

“Moms in mini-vans,” he muttered. “They’re the worst.”

He took a second look into the back seat. In the rear-view mirror I could see Lily smile very big and wave. “Hi,” she said.

“Hello,” he managed a smile and waved back. “You going to school?”

“Yeah,” she said.

“Where do you go to school?” She just smiled. “Are you in kindergarten?”

“Yeah,” she said.

“You’re a cutie,” he said. “I have a little boy in kindergarten. He’d like you.”

His gaze returned to me, but his jaw was not as tight now. “Do you know how fast you were going, ma’am?”

“Well, it must have been pretty fast if you pulled me over.” My way of telling him that I knew he was in complete control of this situation.

“Not really,” he said. “Forty-five.”

Lily wanted to continue her conversation, and all this talk about speed limits was getting in the way. “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,” she was yelling from the back.

The officer looked at her. “Hi, Daddy,” she said.

“Hello, Miss,” said the officer. He lifted the yellow sheet and started writing on a white one. “I tell you what. Since you’re such a nice girl, I’m going to give your Mommy a warning this time.” He ripped off the underneath sheet and handed it to me, along with my documents. “Slow down, OK?”

“OK, officer, thank you. I will.”

That day when I picked Lily up from school, I took her to get ice cream. Chocolate.

Love for a child hits you in the strangest way. It feels like something huge and molten inside your chest, a frothy concoction you might find churning in a candy factory vat. It comes on suddenly and for unexpected reasons. It happened once when Lily was little and eating a plate of lasagna I had made. She pierced the large slab of pasta with her fork and was gnawing pieces off. Despite the difficulties of negotiating such a large portion, she had refused to let me cut it. With her lips pushed out and her eyes closed, she looked something like a calf chewing. She was enjoying her food immensely. It was at that point that I caught sight of her enormous eyelashes. I wanted at that moment to throw myself in front of a locomotive to save her. Motherhood is bizarre. Why would I gladly and without a split-second’s hesitation, run into a blazing building to rescue Lily, but resent having to get up off the couch to pour her a cup of milk?

Sometimes the day-to-day care of a child requires nothing short of heroic acts of virtue. I remember days when my back was so sore because Lily had refused to do anything she was supposed to and I had to physically lift her from place to place – onto the toilet to pee, off the toilet to pull up her pants, onto the stool to wash her hands, off the stool to wipe her hands, over the threshold to give the next kid a turn in the bathroom, onto the chair to eat dinner, off the chair to go take a shower, into the shower, out of the shower, over the threshold again, into her room to find pajamas, into her bed to read a book. All the while the screaming protests that never worked, except to make me angry enough to finally explode into a very loud “BE QUIET and QUIT YELLING!” Which also never worked. She and I both engaged in the same ineffective repetitions over and over again, like rats in a maze, failing time and again to locate the cheese, but never altering their route. And I was supposedly the intelligent one.

Besides “be quiet,” the next two most common words in our house were “hurry up.” It is an intrinsically impolite phrase because it implies that someone isn’t living up to your lack of patience. Still, it can be said in a nice way. But I rarely did. It’s just that I never could figure out how on earth someone could be slow at absolutely everything. Even flipping a light switch. Lily would press too lightly and be looking up at the bulb, waiting for it to come on. Eventually she’d figure out that she needed to apply more pressure to the toggle. I guess all total, it took less than five seconds, but when you’re living your life hoping for split-second responses, you feel like climbing the wall while you’re waiting for the light to go on. Now, it’s me driving my own self nuts. I want to yell at my hand sometimes, “hurry up,” as it makes its way to the switch and attempts to steady itself enough to apply the required pressure to turn on or off the light. Why I care how much time it takes me, I don’t know. I’ve got nothing but time now, much of which I spend sitting around, thinking about all the ways I failed Lily. Time and insight – I’ve got both now. And yet, I realize, for all my faults, Lily changed me in ways I never thought possible. You know you have entered the ranks of true parenthood when you find yourself putting your hands on things you were never willing to touch before. I used to have trouble even looking at a roach and would never have guessed I would pick one up with my bare fingers. Not until one ended up in my child’s mouth.

The things that were once noxious enough to warrant a call to haz-mat were now handled with a casual once-over with the garden hose or vacuum cleaner. I remember one day, there was this horrible smell in the back yard where Lily was playing. I thought it was a gas leak or a dead gopher, so I ushered her inside and went to investigate. I couldn’t find anything. When I went back inside, the smell had travelled into the hallway. I followed my nose to Lily’s room, where she sat playing with her dolly. I sniffed around and found that the smell was coming from Lily. I checked her pants. Nothing. I smelled her hair. It was horrible. Her hands, noxious. I didn’t know what she’d gotten into, but I marched her into the shower and scrubbed her down. Even after several soapings, she still had a faint smell of something dead. I asked her what she had played with and she kept making the same sound over and over again, but I couldn’t make out the word she was saying. I went back outside for a more thorough investigation and found a broken egg shell on the far side of the yard. Yep. That was the smell. Under a nearby shrub was the rest and the worst of it. Lily had found a hard- boiled egg after an Easter egg hunt – five months after. Instead of dropping the rotten egg and taking cover from the horrible stench that was released when she disturbed it, she decided it would be a good idea to get a plate, break open the egg, sprinkle it with sand and serve it to her dolly, who sat smiling at the fare under a Pacific blackberry bush. It wasn’t much of a mystery that Baby Alive didn’t recoil in horror at the smell, but how on earth could a human being have endured it?

It’s been six days since Lily regained consciousness. Jimmy flew home a few days ago, and Terry left yesterday. Lily is recovering well and I am able to go see her twice a week. My doctor doesn’t want me making the trip any more than that, because of the physical strain. Terry and I spent the time Lily was asleep talking about long-range plans. And so, some thirty years later, after Lily changed my life forever, I find myself in my poor sister’s shoes. I am now the one who has to beg someone to take care of Lily. I know what I’m asking, but I am truly a beggar. I have no one else to ask. Jimmy is sweet to her, but his children are still young and with another one on the way, and whatever that brings with it, I don’t want to do that to his family. Terry said she and Jake would think about what to do. She and I talked about a number of options, including Lily coming to live with her. I hate that Lily would have to move and leave everything she has here. But I also hate the idea of her being without family nearby. Time and distance have done nothing to diminish Lily’s attachment to Terry and Jimmy. With Lily, it’s not like just any old warm body will do. Like her biological mother, she is accepting of all people of goodwill, but she chooses to bond with few. And although Lily’s been hung up on seeing her father, even if he is alive and I was willing and able to find him, he ultimately may prove unworthy of her deep affections.

But whoever gets Lily won’t have to cook another day in their lives. Ever since she was six years old, Lily has loved to watch the Food Network. She would sit in front of the TV and say “mmmm,” “mmmmm,” as the celebrity chefs prepared and plated up their specialties. On occasion, she would get so excited about a dish, she would jump up and down, pointing at the television, as if she were watching her best friend win Olympic gold. Every day, after school, she’d get out all her play dishes, her Fisher Price stove and colorful IKEA knives and park herself in front of Mario Batali or Rachael Ray. She would hold the ketchup bottle high over her saucer-sized frying pan and say “E.V.O.O.” I never could figure out why Rachael Ray abbreviated that, when in the next breath, she always said “that’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil.” Aren’t abbreviations meant to save you from having to waste your breath on the long version? But I’m glad Rachael did abbreviate, because I know, at the age of six, Lily would never have been able to say, “Extra Virgin Olive Oil,” but she was able to manage E.V.O.O. By the time she was 10, Lily had watched so many cooking shows, she could have probably landed a job at Berkshire’s The Fat Duck, had chef Heston Blumenthal been willing to include on his upmarket menu a selection of plastic food served on pink pearlescent Barbie plates.

As she grew, Lily transitioned to real food and became quite proficient in the kitchen. Her specialty is rice pudding. She actually makes a better one than I do, and I haven’t figured out exactly why, since I’m the one who taught her. Maybe it’s because stirring is her favorite activity next to swimming and watching TV. She really has quite the patience for it, tending to her pot of pudding like a nursing mother. I’d always lose interest, walk away and forget to stir it. Then I’d spend half an hour scouring black pudding off the bottom of the pan. Lily was kind enough to me to use the Food Network euphemism and call it “over-caramelized.”

I always assumed Lily talked to herself while she cooked because that’s what she saw the television chef’s doing. But one day I realized she does it with other tasks too. Come to find out, it’s common practice among people with Down syndrome. They are actually thinking out loud in order to stay on task, and if the rest of us weren’t so worried about what other people might think, we’d all be doing it too. I’ve tried it, and it’s actually quite helpful. My grandmother used to say you’re not crazy if you talk to yourself, only if you answer. Well, now I know better, because Lily does answer. Actually, sometimes she and herself have quite a row.

One day I remember I had told her she couldn’t go to the mall with her friends because she hadn’t finished her homework.

She went into her room, slammed the door and this is what I heard from the other side:

“I wanna go to the mall!”

“You finish homework.”

“I don’t want to. I want my friends.”

“You obey mother.”

“But I wanna go to the mall.”

“Finish homework. Then go to the mall.”

“OK. I do it fast.”

Although I was glad when Lily learned to talk and was finally able to put an end to all the screaming over unfulfilled wishes, it took some getting used to her emerging role as narrator of her own life. The whole world now had access to the contents of her mind. It was interesting to see that, like most people with limited mental capacity, Lily had developed some very creative survival skills.
“Stir. Stir. Stir. Take pan off stove. Turn stove off. Check stove again.” While she’s saying, she’s doing, in play-by-play rhythm, with a cadence that tells you she really enjoys the sequence she has mastered. She’s in a groove. And a groove means it’s going to get done right. And no house fires will result.

In addition to a dependable supply of delicious rice pudding, another advantage of living with Lily is your house will always be tidy. Lily is a creature of order. All things must be restored. So if you leave a kitchen cabinet open, she will close it. If you leave the lid off, she will replace it. If you leave the flap open, she will refasten it. Never you mind that you’re still getting stuff out, it will drive her nuts until it’s closed. She’s been like that ever since I knew her. This, I believe, is a survival mechanism for people with slower intellects. If they didn’t follow certain routines, they would end up eventually forgetting to do something important, like turn off the iron or let the cat in before the blizzard. When Lily was small, each night before she could sleep, she would insist on restoring her room to its original state. For a borrower like Lily, that meant ridding her room of everything that wasn’t hers. Right after I tucked her in, she would get up again and take everything she had taken from everyone else’s rooms all day long and place it in the hallway outside her door. Then again, I suppose that all could have been a delay tactic to put off bedtime by a minute or two.

If Lily wasn’t in the mood to go to sleep, she would do anything she could to thwart the bedtime routine. She would refuse to take a drink of water because she knew that’s what everyone did before bed. For some reason, children turn into camels at bedtime. One time, Lily refused to go to the bathroom before bed, and I knew she hadn’t gone in hours and that if I didn’t convince her to go, I’d be cleaning up her bed in the middle of the night. I set her on the toilet, but you know what they say about leading a horse to water. It’s true for the other end, too. She just sat there on the toilet and screamed at me. Moments like that were infuriating, but also encouraging. It meant her brain was scheming, and schemes require intelligence. There came a day when Lily became petrified of the dark.

We never figured out why. She would immediately get up after I tucked her into bed, as soon as I was out of sight, and turn on her light. I used to come back through and turn it off, right before I went to bed, usually about three or four hours later, when I thought she was in a deep sleep. Half the time, Lily instantly awoke and stumbled bleary-eyed to the light switch to turn it back on. I always wondered if she had transparent eye-lids.

Not only did she herself not want to spend a split second in a room without the light on, but she also went into near hysterics if anyone else turned out the light in a room she was not even in. This appeared so irrational to me that I’m afraid I wasn’t very understanding. I would tell her, “Hey, knock it off. Get over it and go find something to do.” Jack finally had to explain to me that Lily saw darkness as dangerous and that she was afraid for her siblings to enter it.

Jack had a sixth sense for Lily logic. For instance, there were certain places Lily just refused to step. One of them was the mat where we kept the cat food and water. If there was someone standing in the kitchen and the only route around them was across the cat mat, she would push herself against that person as tightly as she could, so as not to let her toes so much as graze the mat. Jack theorized that she must have stepped on it at some point when water or cat food had been slopped onto it. Knowing how much she hated anything wet or cold on her feet, that made sense.

She also would not step in a stripe of sunlight streaming onto the floor of the open garage in the morning as I loaded kids in the car to drive them to school. There were many occasions that, upon arriving at school, I’d notice she had black smudges on her rear-end from squeezing herself up against the car to avoid stepping on the sun. Why did I even bother to wash clothes?

That, Jack figured, was because she had probably once stepped on cement made hot from the sun and wasn’t about to get her toes burned again.

There were so many phases. One day, Lily just decided she’d been kissed enough for one lifetime. If you kissed her cheek, she wiped it off and said, “yuck,” minus the ending “k” sound. She wanted to be the one to kiss you. She’d grab your face, turn your head to the side and smash her face against your cheek. If you tried to return the kiss, she’d wipe it off and start the process for planting one on you all over again. I don’t know for how long this could have continued, because I always gave up before she did. I always assumed it was because she didn’t want anyone’s slobber on her. But one day Terry was making a Playmobil Daddy talk to her, and all of a sudden he kissed her. She wiped his kiss off too, and I know he didn’t slobber.

I think what surprised me about Lily, even from the very beginning, was how logical she was most of the time. She actually seemed to have more common sense, at times, than Terry and Jimmy. Common sense is one of those things you often have to learn to live without when you’re raising children. You always want to ask “why,” or “what were you thinking?” But even if your children could possibly give you an answer, which nine times out of 10 they cannot, you don’t really want to know. Trust me when I tell you, I was not a quick study on this fact. I intuitively knew I should never ask for justifications for the oddball things they pulled, but I couldn’t help myself. With Lily, at least in the early years, I never did ask, not just because she didn’t have the words to tell me, but because the answer was usually obvious.

But, clearly, Lily had her disconnects too, like sitting in a six-foot-wide play pool with two other children and expecting them not to splash. Lily took each drop that landed in her eye personally and let them know so with her ear-piercing screams. Then she cried when I made her get out of the pool. It wasn’t so much Terry’s and Jimmy’s feelings I was trying to spare, but the neighbor’s ear drums. It couldn’t have been easy living next to us. We must have had a neighborhood full of saints because we never got one complaint. In fact, the neighbors to our north, came over in tears, a basketful of sandwiches in hand, the day the moving van came for our stuff.

The hard thing about the Parkinson’s is it put an end to the life I had promised myself if I just soldiered through the years when the children were growing up. I had calculated that as soon as Lily turned 20, I could find a nice group home for her and pamper myself with a few of the finer things: a trip to New England to tour homes of Robert Frost, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Eugene O’Neill, Henry David Thoreau and Louisa May Alcott. A trip alone to the grocery store. A car that was made within the decade and comfortably seats only two. A new wood floor, preferably wormy chestnut. A cup of coffee enjoyed without interruption. A crisp white button-down-the-front shirt made of 100 percent cotton and a pair of linen trousers, which I never before had time to iron. A piece of family room furniture not upholstered in micro-fiber, set atop a vegetable-died oriental rug laid out without fear of play dough becoming encrusted into its Angora fibers. Although, I would have forfeited all of the above for one thing. I had plans to rescue my books from the boxes in the garage, knock down the wall between the children’s rooms, build floor-to-ceiling knotty alder book shelves and furnish my library with a down-stuffed purple velvet wing-back chair positioned at a 45-degree angle to the northern window with a reading lamp showering full spectrum, high definition light over my parcel of private paradise. If I had enough money left, I’d get one of those rolling ladders only rich people with proper English own. Not that my ceilings were high enough to justify one, but it would have served as a symbol that no material thing was more important to me than my books. I could have graduated magna cum laude from the Anna Quindlen school of interior design. The author once said, “I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.”

But here I am at the end of my life without a single bookcase. There’s a small box on the closet floor that has a dozen of my favorite books. That is the extent of my library. Not that a library would do me any good at this point, since I am too shaky to read. But books are like old friends. It would be nice to be surrounded by them in my final days. At least I will leave a legacy when I go. I have passed on my love of books to Lily. When she was little I used to spend hours reading to her. Well, even when she wasn’t so little. We’d huddle on the couch under a blanket on a rainy Sunday afternoon devouring the classics – Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Sherlock Holmes. She loved action and adventure and mystery – tales that usually appeal to boys. You could skip Pollyanna and Little Women as far as she was concerned. She’d always tell me how much her Daddy was like the main character of whatever book we were reading. I think Lily probably has her father pegged as a brilliant professor, a submarine captain and case-cracking consulting detective all rolled into one. What man could ever live up to that? But, I know Lily. She’s not looking for a hero. She would love him if he was nothing but a tree stump. As long as he is a kind and affectionate tree stump who will let her hug him and call him Daddy. As for me, I’d be OK with a tree stump, too. Actually, I would prefer it to all the other frightening possibilities.

Join us next Sunday for the next chapter!

"A Novel Gift: Until LIly" by Sherry Boas (CatholicMom.com) Background image via Pexels, CC0 Public Domain.

Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2017 Sherry Boas