Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Meet Laney: Breathing on Her Own

Laney’s Birthday

“Does it make you feel old to have a daughter turning thirty-two?” Molly asked as Travis poured a second cup of coffee.

“Me? Old? Not a chance. Although it seems like we should be thirty-two, not Laney,” Travis mused. “We should do something special for her, though.”

“Rob is planning a small party on Saturday and we’re keeping the kids tonight so the two of them can go out. He’s taking her to Winesap’s so they can have a gourmet meal and an evening of dancing.”

“Yeah, but, she learned to dance by standing on my toes, you know.”

“Well,” Molly began, “maybe one night this week you could take her on a daddy date night like you did when she was little.”

Travis seemed to be considering the idea. He scratched his head, “But where?”

“I think with their busy schedules you should be asking ‘when’ instead of where.” 

“Maybe I could take her out for lunch.” Travis pulled out his phone and texted his daughter. A few minutes later he sadly reported to Molly that Laney already had plans to go out for lunch with friends from work.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart. You’ll think of something,” Molly said as she cleared away the breakfast dishes.

As Molly drove to work she couldn’t help but think about the day Laney was born. And Travis. What was it with him? They had picked out a beautiful necklace for her last week. Why did he suddenly decide on the day of her birth he needed to do more? Molly sent an electronic birthday card to Laney to appear on her work computer. She was baking a Texas Sheet Cake for the party on Saturday. It was Laney’s favorite. What more did Travis expect?

“I did something I think Laney will really like,” Travis reported when he called Molly at lunchtime. She could almost hear his smile over the phone. “I ordered flowers to be delivered at her work. Thirty-two roses. One for each year. I should have put that on the card. She may not count them.”

“She’ll know.” Molly smiled. “Does that mean I get sixty roses on my next birthday?”

“Don’t count on it. Laney’s roses broke the bank.”

“Well, remember you have another daughter,” Molly told him.

“I know. But fortunately, Lissa is still under thirty and on top of that, she’s easier for me to buy for,” Travis asserted. “I wish I could see Laney’s face when she gets them.”

“Trust me, she’ll love them. She’ll be the envy of the entire office.”

Molly finished transcribing the notes she had taken on the toothpaste focus group that met last Thursday. She checked her schedule for the next day and headed out the door of Nash Marketing a few minutes early. Rob and Laney would be dropping her grandchildren off before dinner. She needed to stop by the store to get the supplies for macaroni and cheese, Hunter and Ellie’s favorite food.


Laney and Rob trailed in after Hunter and Ellie. Hunter immediately began asking Travis if they could play a video game after dinner and Ellie went straight to the basket of toys Molly kept in the family room for the kids.

“You look beautiful!” Molly told her firstborn. “Twirl around and let me see you.”

Laney did a quick spin and laughed. “You like it?” The green dress with it’s sequined top had a much younger feel to it than when Laney described it to her mother over the phone.

“I love it!”

“And Mom, thank you for the e-card! It was so funny! I made it my screen saver for the day.”

Travis cleared his throat. “Uh…did you get anything else today?”

“I did! You wouldn’t believe it, but at lunch, my team gave me a wallet with four gift cards in it. Twenty-five dollars each. One was to the bookstore, one for the salon, one for that Mediterranean restaurant downtown I’ve wanted to try, and one for Belle’s Boutique.”

Travis frowned. “Was that all?”

Laney frowned. “Is that all? I thought it was a great gift.”

“You didn’t get any flowers?” Travis asked.

“No,” Laney said, looking at Rob.

Rob jerked his head up. “Hey, Don’t look at me, I’m taking you dancing.”

Travis shifted and looked down at the floor. Molly interceded. “Your dad sent flowers to your work today.”

“Oh, Daddy, I didn’t get them –I bet they went to the main reception desk and didn’t make it up to my floor until after I left. But thank you, Daddy. I can’t wait to see them tomorrow.” Laney hugged Travis.

Once they were alone, Travis fumed over the incompetence of the florist. “They were supposed to be sitting on Laney’s desk when she got back from lunch. They certainly should have arrived before she left for the evening.”

“Do you want me to call Don’s in the morning?” Molly offered.

“No, that’s okay. Nothing they can do about it now. She’ll get them tomorrow. I just wanted her to get them on her birthday.”

Molly ached for her husband. He so wanted to make the day special for Laney but his efforts were thwarted.

The next morning, Laney called her mother to say the flowers weren’t anywhere in the building.

“I tried to call Daddy, but it went straight to voicemail. I think he should check with the florist. It was such a sweet thought, I feel bad I didn’t get them. He looked so sad last night.”

“Don’t worry about it, Laney. He’s in a meeting until noon. I’ll call Don’s Flowers and see what happened.”

Molly listened with interest as the florist explained his attempt to deliver the flowers to Laney’s office building and his failed attempts to contact Travis. When he finished his story, Molly laughed out loud.

Travis called Molly after lunch. She shared with him the flowers would be delivered shortly. She relayed the story the florist had told her earlier. “He insisted the company had never heard of Laney Tipton.”

“Never heard of her! What?”

“Well, sweetheart, I’m pretty sure when Laney married Rob she changed her name to Camden. I told the florist to change the name on the card to Alana Camden and give it another try.”

By Saturday night, Travis was able to laugh at the incident. The bouquet adorned the antique table in Laney’s dining room. He put his arm around his daughter. “I guess you will always be my little girl.”

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Remember, Breathing on Her Own will be released on March 25, 2014 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

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