Ellie's parents caught up to her. "Ellie, what has gotten into you?" Mom was frustrated, and Dad was embarrassed. Adults always were concerned with others' judgment, and parents seemed to feel their children's behavior directly reflected their parenting skills. (Children sometimes are just who they are despite their parents and their skills.)
"That man was stealing my happy." Ellie said with a quiver in her tiny voice.
"What?" Ellie's father was confused, "No one can steal your happiness."
Ellie huffed, "Not my happiness! My HAPPY! It lives inside us. He lost his and was trying to steal mine. He was stealing everyone's."
For seven, Ellie was remarkably observant beyond her years. She understood that each of us had sparkles of happy living inside us. As we age, our "happy" would take a beating, typically from adults. As we age, society teaches us that certain things are not "appropriate" and we should let go of our childhood dreams. Ellie felt differently. Her happy sparkles were brighter than the average seven-year-old, which was saying a lot. Seven was that magical age when each of our happy seems to shine the brightest.
Ellie's mom and dad look at one another with a bit of confusion and heartfelt concern. It didn't matter if they understood why. They understood that Ellie had a scare, and they just wanted to console her.
"Well, he is gone now. Let's go home and put these groceries away so we can start dinner. What do you say?" Mom smiled at her little girl, and Ellie smiled back. She still was worried about the man, but she knew she couldn't do anything about it now. He was gone, and she would most likely never see him again. It would seem Ellie had a wonderful life. She was seven. She had two loving parents. Of course, she was happy. It was not as though she lost a parent or had a father who constantly berated her as Declan had. It would seem.
Ellie was adopted. She had lost both her parents in a tragic car accident that she lived through. A drunk driver had sped through a stoplight at an intersection smashing Ellie's parents' car so hard it spun a hundred and fifty feet onto some train tracks. The initial crash did not kill her parents. A train was careening towards them. Ellie's mother was knocked unconscious. Ellie's father desperately tried to unjam his seatbelt to get his wife and child out as he heard the oncoming train's whistleblowing. Those last few moments had to have been pure torture for Ellie's dad. She was too young to remember. When he knew there was no way out in his final moments, Ellie's dad, in a sudden calm, knew Ellie would come out of this alive. He spoke to her, "Ellie, my precious pixie, remember your mother, and I will always be with you. Change the world, Ellie. Never lose your happy, Ellie. Spread it as only you can. We love you."
The engineer, Kent, had seen the accident and the car thrown onto the tracks. He knew he would hit them. Even so, he did everything he could to stop the train and alert everyone the train was coming. The train was less than a mile away from the car, going 50 miles per hour. Even with the emergency brake, he would hit them. He would be going slower, but he would hit them. It would be a hard hit. It would be fatal. He knew no one was getting out of that car alive.
When he saw the firemen carry the baby out from the wreckage, his heart completely broke. Then he heard her cry. He could not believe that she was alive. An orphan with a broken ankle and some minor scrapes but alive! Kent and his wife went to the hospital every day. Ellie's parents were gone. They had no will and no family that the courts could find. She was a ward of the state but not for long. Kent and his wife were unable to have children. They had not thought about adoption until that day. Something in Ellie's cry spoke to Kent. When he came home from work that day, he told his wife about the horrible accident. They went to the hospital to check on the baby. It was as easy as breathing; they loved her. Ellie would coo and smile the moment Kent and Audrey came into view.
Ellie was barely a year old when the accident happened. Kent and Audrey petitioned immediately to adopt her. The courts wanted to be sure there was no family but allowed Kent and Audrey to be Ellie's foster parents while an investigation took place. It was five years before Ellie officially became their daughter. They did not need the papers to know they were a family. The whole of Ellie's parents' estate belonged to Ellie. Kent and Audrey pieced together as much information as they could regarding Ellie's biological parents. They would be sure Ellie knew of them. They wanted Ellie to know both sets of parents loved her. Kent and Audrey knew Ellie had been loved beyond imagination by the pictures and journals kept by Ellie's biological parents. They were not threatened by the memory of Ellie's late parents. In fact, having the pictures and journals felt like they had been a part of Ellie's life even before her birth. Kent and Audrey agreed this empowered them with the ability to share it with Ellie. Ellie would know her whole story.
Will Declan and Ellie ever cross paths again?
Their story continues the first Monday of every month!
March is National Women's History Month.
I'd like to recognize some of the maybe, lesser well-known and still very significant women throughout history. This week's honor goes to Shirley Chisholm, "the first African-American candidate for a major party's nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination." Quote, and more about Shirley Chisholm from Wikipedia found here. Click her slogan above for the link to her autobiography.
Love Lots; Smile Often MommaHattie #LLSO