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hollyHOLLY

Holly was woken out of a sound sleep by the baby’s cry. She glanced at the clock – 3:06. Joe mumbled in his sleep beside her and rolled over to pull the covers over his head as she got up. She shook her head and stumbled towards Robbie’s room.

“I’m coming, little man,” she soothed as she entered his room. She glanced at the bed on the opposite side of the room. Annelise still slept soundly, like her father.

“Just you and me, little man,” Holly murmured, picking up the baby to change his diaper.

Five minutes later, they were settled into the darkened living room and Robbie was busy working on his bottle. Holly watched the shadows from the tree branches on the wall as he ate. They were lucky to have the park close by. It gave Annelise a place to play, and it was a nice spot to take Robbie so he could get some fresh air.

She smiled as he made a contented noise as he ate. He was getting so big. He’d be running around the apartment, chasing his sister, soon. Maybe Joe was right. Maybe they would have to think about moving, but they had a few years yet before they had to worry about that. Besides, they were close to his job here, and it was a nice neighborhood.

After Robbie had been burped, Holly tucked him back into his crib and then wandered back to bed herself. It seemed like she had just closed her eyes for a second when Joe’s alarm woke her back up again.

“Morning already?”

“Go back to sleep, hon,” Joe said, “You can catch a few more winks.”

“I’ve got to get Annelise up for school,” she said.

“I can do that.”

“It’s okay. I’m awake anyway, and there goes Robbie …”

Once Joe and Annelise had left, Holly wandered over to the window and looked out at the park. She smiled when she saw Barney, sitting on his usual bench. As she watched, Barney’s daughter came out to join her Dad. Holly thought about her own parents back home and how horrible it must be to have a parent with Alzheimer’s. She wondered if there was something she could do to help Barney and his family out. She felt a little bemused that Annelise was the only one who had picked up on the situation. Kids had a sixth sense sometimes.

After lunch, she bundled Robbie into his stroller and set out for the park. She walked him up and down the paths a few times. She was about to head back inside when she saw Barney’s daughter coming outside again.

“Hello,” she waved, “I’m Annelise’s Mom, Holly.”

“Hi, Holly, I remember,” the older woman smiled, “I’m Chloe. Who’s this handsome young man?”

“Robbie,” Holly said. She fidgeted with the strap on the diaper bag. “Um, I’m not sure how to say this so I’ll just come right out with it – I was wondering if there was anything you needed help with, or if there was anything I could do for you.”

“Oh.” Chloe looked surprised.

“If you ever need something at the store, I could get it for you, or I could sit with your Dad sometime,” Holly said.

“Holly, that’s so sweet of you,” Chloe said, reaching over to pat her arm. “I appreciate the offer more than words can express. Thank you. Now I know where Annelise gets her generous spirit from.”

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