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My daddy's going on a trip. I wish I could go with Daddy. He'll be gone days and days.  We pack his suitcase—shirts and socks and shoes and.…

“What else should I take?” Daddy asks.

“Me,” I say and jump up and down.

He shakes his head. My mouth turns sad, and he strokes my cheek. “I've thought of something I need to buy for my trip. Who would like to come shopping with me? "

I sigh a giraffe-tall sigh. “Me,” I say.

"What are you going to buy?" I ask as we get in the car.

Daddy just smiles. He doesn't tell me.

After he parks the car, Daddy turns to me. "I'm going on an umbrella hunt. Do we know someone who would like to help me find one?"

I grin and point to myself.

Daddy holds my hand, and we walk along the street. We look in the windows of a flower shop, a restaurant, a bicycle store. At each window, we shake our heads, and keep walking. Then Daddy stops and smiles. I look in the store window. There are suitcases and backpacks, and, and a yellow umbrella.

The store has many, many umbrellas—yellow, red, purple, green. We find one with horses on it and one with flowers. We even find umbrellas that show people holding umbrellas and walking in the rain.

Swish! Daddy pops open a gigantic blue-and-white umbrella. He pulls me to him, and I snuggle with my daddy under our tent.

Then I see it in a corner. It is the most beautiful of beautiful--a rainbow of colors. I run to it and twirl it and twirl it. This umbrella is just my size. I wish, I wish...

Daddy chooses an umbrella. He turns suddenly and smiles at me bright as sunshine. “Who else needs an umbrella?”

Does he mean?  Yes, he does. I run and get the beautiful little rainbow.

“We need to try these out.” Daddy says as we get in the car.

I laugh. “It's not raining, Daddy.”

He grins. "You'll see."

I wonder what he means.

At home he calls Mommy to come outside. Then he picks up the garden hose and hands it to her. "Mommy will be the rain," he says, turning on the faucet.

Mommy laughs. Using the hose, she sprinkles us with water. Daddy and I dance under our umbrellas. We laugh and sing elephant-loud songs.

Daddy shakes the water from his umbrella. He is like a bird flapping its wings. I giggle and shake mine. I'm a flapping bird, too.

 

Daddy scoops me up in his arms. He holds me tight. “I’m going to miss you,” he says.

I miss him already. Drops trickle down my cheeks and they are not from waterhose rain.

Daddy pulls Mommy to us. He closes his eyes and bows his head. “God, thank you for loving and protecting us. Please take care of my girls while I’m away. Be like...like an umbrella.”

At bedtime I ask God to take care of my daddy.

The next day the phone rings. Is it Daddy? I run. Mommy smiles into the phone. It is! It is Daddy! She hands the phone to me.

“Guess what, honey? It's raining here,” Daddy says. “I'm so glad I have an umbrella. Without it, I would have gotten very wet and not seen as much of the city. It's a wonderful place. The people I've met are so kind. The buildings here are very tall. They might just be holding up the sky.”

I giggle. I know that buildings don’t hold up the sky.

“I went to a beautiful park today that has flowers and trees and a small lake,” Daddy says. “It was so funny. A mama duck and her ducklings crossed right in front of me and waddled down to the water. Are you doing some fun things too?”

I frown. The sky was so dark, and the wind was too noisy. I stayed inside all, all morning.

“I love you,” Daddy says.

“I love you, too.”

Then I hear it. Tap. Tap. Tappity, tap, tap. I give the phone back to Mommy and race to the window. It's raining at my house just like it's raining where my daddy is!  I run and get my umbrella.

         

“Hu-m-m." Mommy looks out the window. "OK, it's not raining hard. We'll go for a walk. Go and get ready.”

I grin a hippopotamus-wide grin.

I jump up and down as Mommy closes the front door. What wonderful things am I going to see? And even though it is raining what wonderful things am I going to do?

When Daddy calls again, I will tell him all about it. He’s right. God does love us and takes good care of us.

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Copyright, 2021, Nancy Ellen Hird, author

All Rights Reserved

Posted 9/2021

Nancy Ellen Hird writes short stories and novels for children and adults. Marty's Monster and Jessica Jacobs Did What?, stories for beginning readers, are anthologized in Sports Stories and Silly Stories respectively. Her website is www.nancyellenhird.com. She is the team leader for the blog, Books 4 Christian Kids.