Time Will Tell @StoryADayMay #MothersAndDaughters

Time Will Tell

by Marian Allen

“What time is it, Mom?”

Hard enough navigating city streets, when you’re used to the country, without a pre-teen shouting in your ear. “Sit back, Miss Impatience! It’s about four.”

“The bus leaves at four!”

“Well, it’s about four.”

“About before or about after? Let me see your watch.”

“I’m driving! Leave my wrist alone!”

Rachel bounced in her seat. “WHY don’t we have a car with a clock that works? WHY can’t I have a cell phone?” She didn’t say it right, though; she didn’t say “wah,” like normal people; she said “whaee,” like her new friends.

I didn’t say it again. She knew the answer: we wouldn’t be able to afford it until her dad had a couple of paydays under his belt and I had a couple of housecleaning jobs lined up. If, of course, her dad agreed to it. Neither one of us liked the idea much, but she argued that it would make her safer, and we could see that. It would also make her less safe, but everything’s a gamble.

Take moving to the city, for example. Good move or bad move? Time would tell.

“What if it’s gone? What if they left without me?”

“They didn’t leave without you. It’s just barely four.” It was after four. She knew, because she sneaked a look when she made that last turn. Not much after four: not even ten minutes after. But after.

“What if they dooooooo?”

“They won’t.” But they might. This wasn’t Millardsville, where the bus driver played dartball with Rachel’s daddy and all the kids had grown up with her and most of them been to her house one time or another. More people, less connection, stricter rules.

“Mama, but they might!”

Rachel hadn’t called her Mama for years. The poor little thing was really worried.

“If they left without you, I’ll drive you, myself.”

Rachel stopped fidgeting, her eyes wide and her mouth ajar. “You wouldn’t!”

“It’s the same campground where Brother Ransom did that retreat. I know the way.”

“It’s hours!”

And she didn’t look forward to it. But this was her girl. “Don’t care.”

“Mama, I’d die! It’d be so embarrassing!”

“Well, but maybe we could catch up to the bus at a rest stop or a gas station or something.”

“That’d be even worse!”

“Suit yourself.”

They rode in a few moments of blessed silence. Then Rachel said, “You wouldn’t really, would you? Drive me there like a baby?”

“Your daddy and I said you could go. We paid for it, you packed for it, so, yeah.”

“Oh, lord have mercy.”

She pulled into the school lot, next to the big yellow bus idling there. A rush of emotion shoved its way from her heart to her eyes, and she blinked it back. “See what happens when you say your prayers? Told you they’d still be here.”

A lady teacher with a clipboard hopped down from the bus and motioned Rachel urgently toward her. “You’re the last one here. One more minute, and we would have left. Hop in!”

Rachel grabbed her bag and scurried up the steps without a backward glance. The teacher waved and scrambled up after her.

She watched the bus pull out, resisting the urge to wave, in case Rachel was looking. Didn’t want her girl to die of embarrassment.

Would Rachel remember? Years from now, would she remember the time she almost missed the bus to camp and her mother offered to drive her there? If she remembered, would she cringe in shame, or would she tear up, the way her mother was tearing up now, because the bus waited and the sacrifice wasn’t needed?

Time would tell. Only time would tell.


I’m posting at Fatal Foodies today about a cabbage/mushroom soup I made yesterday.


If you liked this story, you might like my other stories and my novels. Support an author: buy a book and leave an Amazon review. I thank you, and my cat thanks you.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Time Will Tell @StoryADayMay #MothersAndDaughters

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 9, 2017 at 11:49am

      Thanks, Dan. And thanks for being such a faithful visitor and commenter. I’ve been busy as a bird-dog, but I WILL catch up!

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  1. joey

    May 9, 2017 at 12:06pm

    Mmm. That’s good stuff. Bittersweet, hits the heart. I feel all tender.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 9, 2017 at 12:31pm

      Mother of four girls, me. They can tick you off and melt your heart AT THE SAME TIME. It’s like a superpower.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    May 9, 2017 at 12:42pm

    Children can be so cruel, and they won’t realize it until they are parents themselves, if at all.

    One of the good things about homeschooling was the absence of this kind of nonsense, the hewing to the peer group, as if a random bunch of unfinished kids were better than family.

    When I hear of kids who won’t walk with their parents at the mall because they don’t want to be embarrassed by their parents, I remember how I can’t walk with mine.

    Yes, kids have to become independent. Yes, some parents seem to fail to realize this – and put every possible obstacle in the way. But I don’t like assuming it’s okay for our society. And it leaves the kids adrift.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 9, 2017 at 3:05pm

      I’ve heard it said that the two most important gifts you can give your children are: roots and wings. Mixing metaphors, but not untrue. I’ve never had a kid embarassed to walk with me. No, I tell a lie: I’ve never had a kid who didn’t walk with me because she was embarrassed. She was probably afraid I’d say, “Walk with me even if it embarrasses you. It builds character.”

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 9, 2017 at 3:07pm

      Prolly not. Maybe when she has her own. But prolly not. Good thing we don’t do things for our kids in hope of recognition, eh?

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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