“Love Spoken,” Friend, Apr. 2016, 8–9
“Mom is coming back tonight,” Dad said when he picked up Cassie from school. “That means today is clean-the-house day.”
“Yes!” Cassie cheered. Cassie wasn’t too excited about cleaning, but she was excited that Mom was finally coming home. She had been gone for two long weeks taking care of Grandma, who lived far away.
Cassie had missed her so much that some nights she had even listened to the old cassette-tape recordings that her mom had once made for her. On these tapes Mom had recorded herself reading stories to Cassie. Before Cassie knew how to read, she would listen to these recordings over and over while looking at the pictures in the books. Cassie hadn’t listened to them in a long time—until now.
After the house was sparkling clean, Cassie and Dad went to the airport to pick up Mom. When she got off the plane, Mom was happy to see them, but she looked tired.
“I don’t think I should give kisses today,” Mom said. “I think I caught the flu on my trip. I don’t feel so good.”
Mom went straight to bed when they got home. Cassie came in to see her later, and she had a cold cloth across her eyes.
“Do you want to play a board game?” Cassie asked.
“No, sorry, sweetie,” Mom said. “I have a bad headache, and I need to rest my eyes. But there’s nothing wrong with my ears. Why don’t you sit with me and tell me everything that happened while I was gone?”
Cassie smiled and pulled a chair close to the bed. She talked and talked, and Mom listened.
The next night Mom was still sick. Cassie had to go to school the next day, and Mom would be home by herself. She’ll be so lonely, just like I was, Cassie thought. Then she had a great idea. She went to the bookshelf and got down one of Mom’s favorite stories.
In the morning before she left for school, Cassie brought a shoebox to her mom. “This is for you,” she said. “I also made you a sandwich. Peanut butter with strawberry jam. It’s in the fridge.”
“Oh, thank you,” Mom said. She opened the box and took out the tape recorder. “What’s this?”
Her mom pushed “Play” and Cassie’s voice said, “Dear Mom, I’m going to read your favorite story. Just close your eyes and have fun listening.”
She pushed “Stop” on the recorder and laughed. “This is wonderful,” Mom said. “I’m so excited to listen to this.”
“I did all the voices,” Cassie said. “Just like you used to.”
“Thank you, Cassie! How did you get to be so thoughtful?”
“I learned from you, Mom.”