I Can Make It Grow

I Can Make It Grow

From Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul

I Can Make It Grow

I have often thought what a melancholy world this would be without children; and what an inhumane world, without the aged.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

My granddaughter Lydia, who was five years old, was visiting her grandpa and me one spring day when we all decided to go for a walk, taking Missy, our dog, with us.

Since I have multiple sclerosis, my legs have taken on wheels to accommodate me; I use a three-wheel scooter. Nonetheless, I enjoy the sunshine and the adventure of getting out and about like the rest of the family.

Now Liddy, as we call her, was taking in all her eyes would allow. As you may know, the eyes of a child spot things an adult’s eyes may never see. So it was on this particular day. In the subdivision where we live, there are no sidewalks; everyone goes for their daily walks strolling down the middle of the streets. There is a slight embankment along the road, and it is in one of these shallow ditches that she spotted it.

“Look, Grandma,” Liddy said eagerly.

I tried to muster enthusiasm for the little artificial flower that had somehow made its way into the drainage ditch. “Oh, that is nice, Liddy.”

She held it tenderly. “It’s a beautiful bouquet. Isn’t it?”

“Oh, yes.” I placed it in the basket on my scooter.

“I want to plant it when we get home,” she informed me.

I couldn’t bring myself to tell her it would do no good to plant an artificial flower.

“I know how to plant flowers. I planted some at Grandma Carolyn’s house.”

Grandma Carolyn was her grandma on her mother’s side, and I never questioned her endeavors or abilities. After all, that grandmother was more able-bodied than me. Liddy spent more time there, staying overnight and bonding with her other grandma in a small rural community a few miles away. I was sure Grandma Carolyn had helped Liddy plant real flowers in her yard.

We continued on our walk, with the artificial flower surviving quite nicely in my basket. It sat there rather staunchly, as if it knew it had a mission.

As our home came into view, Liddy, too, had a mission. She was going to plant that flower.

“I can make it grow,” she told me confidently.

She reached into my basket as we arrived at our house. I thought to myself, How am I going to tell this sweet little child that this is a flower that will not grow when planted?

“Liddy, you know that is not a real flower; it’s artificial.”

“I know,” she said without batting an eye.

She told me she needed a shovel, then she picked out a spot beside the front walk leading to our porch.

“Grandpa, would you get Liddy a big tablespoon?” I requested of Bill, my husband.

I was not going to quash our granddaughter’s spirit or her faith. She was sure she knew how to dig a hole, plant that flower and make it grow. She was adamant in her abilities and in that plastic flower’s ability to sprout into an even more beautiful bouquet. She felt capable of achieving her goals. I wasn’t going to deter her.

Liddy planted and watered her flower, proudly showing her daddy when he came. She had placed it in a spot where it wouldn’t be missed on her next arrival.

Several visits and a multitude of rainstorms later, on one of her stopovers, Liddy, with a dejected look on her face, informed me that her flower was dying despite her loyalty. I couldn’t stand the disappointment she faced.

One day a few weeks later, Bill purchased some flowers to plant in our backyard. A light went on in my brain.

“Bill, take one of those flowers and plant it by the walk in the front yard were Liddy planted that artificial flower.”

On her next visit, Liddy’s eyes sparkled when she saw the purple, flourishing flowers. Her faith was renewed. She continued to water that flower and care for it each time she came, declaring, “I told you I can grow flowers.”

Sometimes nature and children need a boost in achieving their intended objectives.

Sometimes we just need to give a child hope in her dreams.

Sometimes we adults need to be encouraged to have the faith of a child.

Sometimes we need to replace our artificial lives with the real thing.

Other times, we need to water our hopes and dreams with effort, determination and will, having patience until they grow into being.

Most times, a child can teach us a multitude of things about ourselves and about life—if we just look at life through the eyes of a child.

Betty King

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