A little girl wears the look on her face. Her mom knows the look. Moms are smart that way. They know what to watch for when they want to see if the tyke is headed for trouble, like that mischievous change in a little girl's face. Mom lets her wander a bit further this time. But, although one eye might be on the bowl of snap beans in her lap, the mom's other eye stays locked on the little girl.
The blonde, blue-eyed girl is 3 years old, so the world is a very big place. She knows she isn't supposed to walk all the way to the back of the yard, but there might be something worth seeing over there. She toddles off in that direction. Along the way, she glances back toward her mom. Am I caught yet? Nothing happens. I'm in the clear! What a fine adventure. Soon she is lost in exploring, poking about here and there, peering over and under stuff at all the wonders of the world.
A strange noise. The little girl feels that creep of fear. Turning quickly, she looks for her mom. Everything is OK, because mom is sitting right over there, watching her. Everything is OK.
Years pass, and the little girl is no longer little, and when she toddles off, mom is no longer in sight. The girl goes searching for something worth seeing over there. Mom can still spot that look on the girl's face that tells when she is headed for trouble. And mom finds the courage to let her go again. Mom cannot see, but the phone sits just beside her chair, and when it rings, and it is the girl checking to see if mom is still watching, she is. And everything is OK.
The girl becomes a woman, and when she goes exploring for something worth seeing, over there is across a country away. She doesn't look back nearly as often. And mom learns to stop searching for her in the yard. But when the woman feels that creep of fear, she reaches for the phone again, and mom answers before it rings. And everything is OK.
And then the woman finds herself with one eye on the snap beans, and the other on her own little blonde, blue-eyed girl who is headed over there. And she reaches for the phone with something to share, something new to her, and oh so familiar for mom. And everything is OK.
Decades pass, and the woman walks upon a lonely beach. Dark fog hovers near, and the sea is nervous that day, bearing a watchful eye as she is near the surf. She is working through the morass of things bouncing around inside her head, and she feels the creep of fear again. She cannot turn to see mom watching over her, and be comforted by that. She would dearly love to dial the phone, but mom is no longer there to answer. Instead, there is a vast hole in her heart.
But just then, at that very moment, the woman looks down, and she finds, lying on the dark sand, a fingernail size fragment of seashell, pure white, and carved by the waves into a perfect heart shape. A gift from the sea, or someone else? The woman looks up.
Hi Mommy. And everything is OK again.