A Short Story
I was born exactly nine pounds, at 8:30am on a sunny Tuesday morning. My father watched as I was lifted from my mother’s swollen belly, observing the rosiest red cheeks you’ve ever seen. I had the widest eyes, eyes of the universe my mother told me. In them, held dreams of freedom and the highest gratitude. And although my features were doubtlessly his, it was what was inside that truly resembled my mother. I can still remember the sensation of her warm smile as I was gently placed into her arms.
Four years old now, dashing outside in baby pink tights and a tutu, I can hear my mother faintly yelling in the background. I hop over each of the square, flat stones my mother had placed throughout the yard. The sound of her voice becomes much clearer. “Lia! You’re going to get your feet dirty if you don’t wear shoes!”. Carelessly, I leap to hug the sky then embrace the ground to wiggle my fleshy, peach-colored toes between the blades of grass. My mother appears in front of me. She glows in unison with the sunlight and I can see the shadow of her petite body gliding behind her as she leans over to carry me to the flowers. “See how they move side-to-side with the wind? They are dancing because it is a glorious day to be alive my little Lia”. I’m giggling now, not really thinking twice, convinced the flowers are fairies and unwilling to believe otherwise.
I lie motionless, eyes beaming at the icy sky. I’m eight years grown, hidden behind the massive pine trees fixed at the side of my home. During the winters, the snow would weigh the branches down, creating an igloo. A small slit between the pines allowed me to peer through at the bluest celestial sphere. And I always found my way in without displacing any snow.
In what seemed like a trance, a gritty noise awakened me. I crept along the side of the house to discover my mother, engulfed in her winter gear. Swimming in a thrifted fur coat and wool hat, she warned me not to ruin the pathway she had just dug out. I throw snow, trying to engage her as I fall back on the white glacial cushion beneath. Shortly after, my mother washes up beside me. I turned my head to inspect her, snowflakes dancing on her cheeks, as she exists so serenely. Clearly distinguishable against the snow, it almost seems like she can make all the ice melt and bring the Earth to spring again. “They glide down from the heavens you know…and they’re here as a reminder. Little angels coming to tell us they’re here with us!”. I’m delighted to make friends with the snowflakes and jump up to twirl. They teach me how to float as they do.
Roaming through my room restlessly, a cluster of white flowers catch my eye through the window. I take a short minute to glance, but am stuck by the window to scanning over the yard. The pear tree has begun to bloom, showing the first signs of spring and the weeds are overgrowing the stone pathway. I stand there admiring its untouched state, when my mother waltzes in. I wouldn’t have noticed her if it wasn’t for the scent of frankincense and myrrh, bringing me back to my childhood. Granted, I am not mature yet, twelve still doesn’t feel so little any more. “Aren’t they just beautiful? They bloom just like you!”. She turns to look at me with a troubled look on her face. “Ah my little Lia, you’re so grown up. I only hope you grow to be just as untamable as those weeds!”. She chuckles and caresses my shoulder, assuring me she’s “only kidding”. In spite of my feeling rebellious and distant, my heart still once beat as hers. I shrug and continue about my business, once again sensing her warm smile. I’m her little flower.
Coming of age is easily read on my face at sixteen years young. I parade through my favorite section of Ikea. And my mother stands in front of the wooden pallets, that hold the larger plants, with her back turned away from me. A slight ring of light surrounds her as she moves to grasp a plant that goes by the name of “Elephant’s Foot”. Her leaves collectively make a long, bushy afro. My mother brushes the thin, evergreen leaves, rotating her curly head to look at me. “They all feel“. She has the most sincere eyes, pure, like a child. She opens her mouth to speak, but instead, her eyes open wider and water. You can see the whole universe through them. “My little Lia, I wish you could feel this”. She smiles naturally, and I gaze at her, confused. “We are a part of something much greater than ourselves”. Her smile grows grand, cheek-to-cheek, looking down to continue running her working hands through the plant.
I imagine a lot of very silly looks on my face as she revealed her thoughts to me, as if I didn’t deem what she had been saying to be true. But, that one moment led me to discover the value of her words. I unearthed the beauty of my mother and her wholeness, as well as her connection to me. She was my key to unlocking the universe in my heart, to expanding my freedom. She held my hand through all my moments and showed me the way. Her attraction to the purity of all that is taught me appreciation and how life is more than something three-dimensional. Life is full of beauty, laughter, and love. And it always carries more meaning through the love shared by mother and daughter.