The terrible scare of Ellie fainting was more than her parents could bear. They swore they would never put Ellie in such danger again. The following day Ellie woke up with a smile bigger than ever. She was skipping and whistling. Her parents looked at one another in shock. "What exactly has gotten into you?" Her father asked with delight, "Last night you fainted and then fell asleep as though you would be sleeping for days."
"I feel rejuvenated and fresh!" Ellie smiled, "Can we go visit Declan again?"
Ellie jumped by her parents' reaction. "But why not?"
Ellie's mom pulled Ellie onto her lap, "Ellie, we almost lost you. We don't know what happened when you and he got so close but whatever it was certainly was not good for you. We cannot let that happen again."
"But we HAVE to, Mom! Don't you understand? I'm his only hope!" Ellie was very insistent
Ellie never gave up on Declan. Every chance she got, she begged her parents to see him. They never liked taking her because she was always exhausted after their visits. Ellie always insisted that she was all right. Ellie, although young, was wise for her age and often taught her parents a variety of things. She explained that Declan was family and she had to keep him safe. Kent and Audrey explained they had to keep her safe. They went back and forth for a long time, but Ellie won in the end.
Then one day, Ellie's parents realized Ellie was becoming less and less tired each time she met with Declan, and Declan seemed a little brighter each time they visited. Kent and Audrey also found that the more time they spent with Declan, the more they smiled and just enjoyed being around him. Then one Saturday morning, Ellie's mom was ready to head out to visit Declan and called for Ellie, who called back to her mom saying, "Oh, we don't have to go see Declan today - he's got a date!" Ellie's mom and dad looked at one another, surprised, yet again. "A date?" They exclaimed. Ellie giggled.
As years passed, Ellie and her family stayed close with Declan, who one day married the woman he had the date with that Ellie giggled about. Declan and his bride welcomed twins not long after their first wedding anniversary. A boy and a girl. Declan, his wife, the twins, Ellie, and her parents spent every holiday together. The seven of them had become a family. Biology did not matter. These seven people belonged together. They kept each other safe, supported one another, loved one another unconditionally, and always were there for one another in good times and in bad times. That is what being a family was all about - keeping each other safe and looking out for one another.
Ellie continued to share her special sparkles with the world in her own special way. Sometimes people didn't understand her happy or the variety of ways she shared it with the world. It did not matter. Ellie knew her purpose, and she never did anything out of malice.
People may try to put out your sparkles, but no amount of darkness can ever cover the light. Even the tiny lightning bug can be seen in the darkest of nights.
During this holiday season, remember many people struggle through the holidays in many different ways. Be kind. Pack your patience. Sharing a smile may be the best gift someone needs.
Love Lots; Smile Often