Please enjoy reading the following short story. It is a story of hope when death comes, but it is also a story that tells of the legacy that a parent leaves a child. Please leave a comment – I would love to hear what you think. I am currently considering getting it illustrated.
Mama’s Flower Garden
By Kathleen Fiske
Julia looked at her mother’s flower garden – the snow was gone, it was early spring, everything looked gray, nothing was green. That is how her heart felt – cold and dull with nothing growing in it.
Her mother had died that winter. There hadn’t been any warning and suddenly her life was done. She would give no more; she had no more time to make a difference.
It wasn’t fair, Julia thought, that her mother’s life had to end when she knew her mother wanted to do so much more. She used to laugh, Julia remembered, and say that she was still trying to figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up…
Julia’s thoughts sent her from where she stood to where her favorite place had been with her mother, sitting on the kitchen stool, talking while her mother put together supper late in the afternoon, while time pleasantly turned to early evening.
“Mama, when you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?”
Mama laughed, “I would dream of designing and sewing beautiful dresses and costumes for plays and movies. I would be famous and go on stage to receive awards for my dresses and costumes!”
“Really, Mama? How come you didn’t do that?”
“Oh, I became a mama instead, but I design and sew you pretty dresses. I believe if there was an award for that, I would receive it!” Mama laughed. “And I’m teaching you to sew so that someday maybe you will be that famous designer!”
“Thank you for all those dresses you sew for me. I always feel very special wearing them.”
“You’re welcome. That’s really all the award I need.”
“Mama, what else did you want to be when you grew up?”
“I wanted to be a teacher and maybe even go to a different country to teach children who didn’t have fancy schools with all the latest books and equipment.”
“Really? How come you didn’t do that?”
“Oh, I became a mama instead, but I’m your teacher. I’m probably one of the most important teachers you will ever have, which is a very big responsibility. I will help teach you the truth you will need to know all your life and maybe someday you will go to a different country that doesn’t have fancy schools with all the latest books and equipment, and you can teach the children who need to know the truth.”
“Thank you for always being here when I need to learn.”
“Maybe when we are all grown up, you can still teach children in another country?”
“Maybe,” answered Mama with a smile. “But maybe you will still need me. We’ll see.”
“Mama, what else did you want to be?”
“Well, what I really wanted to be the most was a gardener who took care of the huge and magnificent gardens of a king!”
“Really? How come you didn’t?”
“I became a mama instead.”
“But why a gardener, Mama?”
“Gardens are where I kneel the most – some think I am just pulling weeds or digging up the soil for new plants, but I am really praying. If I gardened for a king with huge and grand gardens, I would be on my knees praying all day!”
“Mama, when you are out in our gardens, do you pray for me?”
“Yes, all of the time.”
“I’m glad Mama that you are our gardener. You make me feel like a queen.”
“I think you grew up being what you wanted to be.”
“Really?” said Mama with a chuckle.
“Yes! You grew up to be my mama!”
“Yes.” Mama replied, “And I wouldn’t change a thing!”
Julia laughed in spite of her sadness and wiped away her tears as she thought of that day. Mama always knew that she was just what she wanted to be.
Looking down at Mama’s garden was like looking at Mama’s death, thought Julia. Although it looked lifeless, she saw that bits of green were already showing, that the promise of new life continues, that life continues…what Mama planted before she died will continue to grow, that Mama’s life will continue to matter, to make a difference….
“Mama?” Julia whispered as she bent down in Mama’s garden to pull some of the brown bits of old plant away from the new green growth coming up through the soil. “Mama, I know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a mama just like you.”