December 26, 1999
For more than six years, Bonnie and I helped a single mother raise her two daughters, Sabrina from age 7 on, and Ana from birth on. Starting when Ana was only 4 months old, the two of them stayed overnight at our place every Friday night, and whenever they were sick or their mom needed a break.
Ever since she was a toddler, I knew that Ana was very smart and loving, but I later discovered that she was also very sensitive and wise.
When Ana was only about 4 years old, she called me to tell me that she had gone shopping with her Grandma, and had bought a present for me. She wouldn't tell me what it was, but she assured me that I would really like it.
A couple days later, I picked up the girls to come and stay overnight at our place. Ana was her normal, happy little self, but she didn't mention anything about my present until we were alone at my house. Then, she told me that she had gone to the Dollar Store with her Grandma, and had convinced her Grandma to give her enough money to buy a present for me. Reaching into her coat pocket, Ana pulled out a little bean-bag clown doll, about 6 inches tall, with a painted ceramic face. She handed it to me, saying,
"This is for you, Bob, so if you ever get lonely, you can look at it and think of me, and I will be with you."
Of course I still have that little clown doll. Many times during the 4 1/2 long years that we didn't see Ana and Sabrina, I looked at that little clown doll, I thought of Ana, and she was with me.
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