A girl shares her love for Erika Brannock

PARKTON, Md. - It's a tough conversation for parents: how to explain what happened in Boston.

"A bomb kind of went off and Erika got hurt," said Randy Holter, who hired Erika Brannock to babysit his daughter.  "A lot of good doctors were taking care of her," he said.

They are words the Holters waited a day to share with 8-year-old Amelia.  She knows now, but on Monday, hours after the explosions, Amelia dug into her toy box and brought out Felicia the flamingo.

"Well here comes Felicia and Amelia looked at us and what did you say?  She said it's your birthday.  She said it's Felicia's birthday.  We need to spend more time with Felicia and we need to give her some love," said Debbie Holter, Amelia's mom.    

Amelia hasn't played with the stuffed animal in a few years.  But on the same day her babysitter was injured in Boston, she brought out an old toy that Erika Brannock bought her.

"Sometimes when I go to sleep with her I feel like Erika is right there," said Amelia Brannock.    

Amelia went to sleep with her Monday night, again not knowing what happened to Brannock, and she woke up when she rolled on her and the animal said "I love you, I love you."

That love is now being sent to Boston.  Amelia's family is helping her make cards.

Brannock went through surgery on Tuesday after suffering two broken legs.  She was at the marathon to cheer on her mom, who is okay, but her sister and brother-in-law were also hurt.

Amelia has a necklace from her babysitter.  That stuffed animal is now filled with a story, and there are words written by a little girl, who is forced to understand this big world.

"This is my heart.  You will always be here," said Amelia.      

Erika Brannock's close friend is working with the teachers at Trinity Episcopal Church, where she teaches, to plan a vigil and collect clothing since Brannock is expected to be at the hospital for some time.

Everyone who knows and loves Brannock asks that she be surrounded by prayer.



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