Dad looked at his daughter, so full of smiles,
She was always happy, that was her style.
The day was sunny and warm, filled with promises so bright,
They'd go to a family picnic and stay 'til the night.
Lauren ran to her cousins and started to play,
Her mother was content that she would not stray.
Soon giggles and laughter could be heard all around,
When Lauren demonstrated the way her horses would sound.
But, the big boys were bothered by their childish prattle
And devised a clever plan to get rid of the chatter.

They told the younger children, it would be so much fun,
"Let's play hide and seek until day is done."
No hint of danger, no bad thoughts could be found,
As the children scattered and ran all around.
They hid under the bushes, climbed up in the trees,
(The little kids were giggling and squealing with glee!)
The bigger boys soon carried out the rest of their plan
And laughing between themselves, to the water they ran.
For instead of playing a childish hide and seek,
The jumped and splashed in the nearby creek.

The little kids were patient and stayed very quiet,
Each of them waited for what would be a tagging riot.
After an hour passed slowly by, they walked back in sight
Of the place where the grown-ups had strung-up some lights.
All the children returned, including the bigger boys,
Save one little girl--Lauren, last seen carrying her two precious toys.
The grown-ups searched and searched for the missing child,
But, neither she nor her snow-white toy horses were ever found.
"We'll remember you forever!",
was her parents' tearful pledge,
As they stood and looked out over the river's edge.

Soon the days changed to months and the months changed to years...
(Would there ever be an end of all the tears?)
They promised each other they'd get past the pain,
"They would endeavor to turn their loss into gain".
Working for and with children the rest of their lives,
Gave them comfort and peace 'til death would arrive.
Lauren's father passed first, while deep in sleep,
But, there was no time for her Mother to weep.
Her rocking chair stilled...she lifted up her eyes...
Lauren and Dad walked straight to her side.

A cherished old friend came by the next day...
Tears welled in his eyes, but he could not walk away.
He knew of their story...he knew of their pain...
Of their love for all children and the goals they attained.
Dad had a smile on his face--he lay peacefully on the bed
(It was hard to believe that he really was dead!)
Mother--in her rocking chair with her eyes open wide..
She had looked up...the instant she died.
He gasped as he directed his eyes toward the door...
Two snow-white toy horses were standing on the floor!
Susan Elaine Collins 2001 ©

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