Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Robert stood with his arms crossed over his chest, his boot tapping nervously at the flagstones. He heard voices within the kitchen, then she emerged, a child holding her hand.
Robert looked down at a miniature version of his mother.
Mathilde’s black curls clustered about her head, she had eyes as deep a blue as the ocean surrounding the island, and a firm little chin with a dimple that would someday be a small cleft. Her skin was golden, a legacy from Nanette, but Miss Burke was correct. There was no doubt the child was his offspring.
“Greet your father, Mathilde,” the woman murmured. The child looked up at the governess, then curtsied prettily.
“Good morning, Captain St. Armand. Miss Burke says you are my papa. Is that so? Am I coming to live with you now?” the girl said, looking up at him curiously.
Robert’s mouth opened, then closed. He squatted on his heels to bring himself down to her level. A glance at the governess showed he’d finally done something of which she approved.
“We must talk together about that, Mathilde.”
He put his fingers out, brushing his knuckles against the edge of her face. The skin was so soft he feared his hand might bruise the child, even with a thistledown touch. He could see his mother’s bones beneath the baby roundness of her cheek, the same bones that looked back from his shaving glass each morning.
“For now, is there anything you need? Are you hungry?”
“The cook gave me milk, and a roll, and I played with the new kittens. Would you like to see the kittens, Captain?”
“Perhaps later,” he said, clearing his throat around the obstruction there. “And you may call me papa, if you wish.”
“Do the other pirates call you Captain St. Armand? I want to be a pirate too!” the child said enthusiastically.
--The Pirate's Secret Baby

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there who play Barbies, and pirates, and catch with their little girls and boys.  There will be days when you feel like you're not doing enough, but half the job is showing up and being there for them.

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