Rhonda headed out the door, anxious to get into the car and head into town. "Jack," she yelled, " Grab MaKayla and let's get going."
"Okay" replied Jack, " we're on our way out the door now." "come on MaKayla" he spoke softly to their two-year-old daughter, "Let's go for a ride to town."
MaKayla looked at him from the top of the steps, those round brown eyes showing anxiety and hesitation. Not wanting to go down the steps on her own, she held out her arms and pleaded "DaDa."
Jack looked at her and motioned for her to walk down the step. "You can do it." he said, "It's only one step. show Daddy the big girl you are today."
MaKayla looking bewildered, turned back towards the house door, unsure of what to do. Jack walked away from the steps, moving closer to the car. "Come on MaKayla, we're ready to go. You'll have to stay by yourself." he fibbed as he turned towards the car.
MaKayla, tears forming in her eyes, reached towards him again.
"Be a big girl" coaxed her dad, hoping that she would come down the step and build her self-confidence.
But she turned back towards the house and then towards the railing. sitting down, she let her feet dangle over the side of the deck. Then she slipped off. Scarcely one foot from the ground, MaKayla landed softly, stood up unharmed and looked mournfully at Dad.
"You did it" exclaimed Jack, proud that his daughter had taken the first step.
But MaKayla didn't see it that way, she knelt, reaching up with those little hands, imploring Dad to come and pick her up.
At that, Jack turned towards the car once again, "You'll be here all alone. Come on, we're heading to town." as he took another step closer to the car.
Standing once again, reaching for Dad to pick her up, MaKayla let the tears roll, playing her best sympathy card.
Jack was moved but felt the need for her to assert her independence, staring at her, waiting for that first step towards adulthood.
The two looked at each other for an interminable time, neither willing to give in.
At that moment, Rhonda swooped MaKayla up, carried her to the car, glanced at Jack and said, "Let's go, she can grow up next week"
© 2018 Steven A. Yockim