The little girl stood solemnly, as her grandmother fastened the pretty corsage to her dress.
“There, baby! I believe you have chosen the prettiest roses in the garden!”
Of course she had – not a petal must fall today. She hugged her grandparents then began her run to the church at the end of the street.
Pastor would be welcoming the congregation, alongside the volunteers. No ordinary pastor here; he truly loved his flock. The little one he had spotted running up the road was very dear to her church family.
He had spent many hours counseling her parents to no avail, and then watched as they waged a custody battle for the child.
Eventually, the grandparents intervened and won custody. Sometime later, the child had sought her own counseling session. Pastor had brought the secretary and the child into his study, cautioning the secretary that not one word from the child would leave that room.
She agreed and when the child felt better and was on the way home, he called the grandparents, pleading with them to be vigilant lest the child be abducted.
There had been a mysterious black car following her, the child had related. It had pulled up alongside her one day, but she’d had the God-given ability to run, being quite a little athlete, and the car sped away.
Looking now, once again, pastor saw her as she reached the door. He escorted her in, then made his way to the podium.
The Mother’s Day celebration began with specially chosen numbers that spoke of a mother’s love and sacrifice, especially Mary, the mother of our savior. Pastor then brought an inspirational sermon, beautifully sentimental, of his dear mother long gone.
He then introduced the emcee and the annual Mother’s Day contest began. There would be a corsage for the eldest mother attending. She received her flowers and applause. Next the call for the youngest mother went out, at age 19; the youngest mother came forward holding a newborn.
However, following her was a young lady greatly with child, slowly approaching, holding her back. The audience laughed, hilariously applauding, as the bewildered emcee, unsure how to proceed, finally asked the young lady, “Ma’am, seeing that as yet your baby hasn’t been born, Do you really think that you deserve the corsage?”
“Yes, sir,” she replied. “This baby kicks and hiccups 24 hours a day. I’m a mother already!”
The crowd roared its approval, the applause continued.
After order was restored, the emcee continued: “Folks, we have two worthy mothers, but one corsage, I …”
“She can have mine,” said the child, making her way from the back. There was an awesome silence as the child allowed her corsage to be unfastened, then she herself pinned it onto the expectant mother’s blouse.
As she turned to leave, tears streamed down her face. The applause was deafening. The emcee, visibly shaken, knowing what that sacrifice had meant, handed the service to the pastor. A white-faced pastor thanked the congregation for coming, wishing happiness the rest of their day.
He then reminded them of the random act of kindness they had just witnessed, asking that they go and do likewise.
Making his way to the exit, a newcomer saw the child walking nearby. “Young lady,” he motioned, “that was a nice thing you did. I noticed that your corsage consisted of a red rose, white rose combination. Was there significance in the design?”
“Yes,” she replied, “some wear a white rose if their mothers are in heaven. I don’t know where my mother could be, so the white says that if she is in heaven and can never come back, it’s OK. But I wear the red rose for hope, hope that if she’s still living, that she will come back to me someday.”
She said goodbye, running to catch up with her friends. The stunned newcomer prayed, “Lord, grant that child a miracle!”
Epilogue: Twenty-two years later, the mother returned. Mother and daughter enjoyed a few good years. As she laid her mother to rest, she left a rose, a yellow rose for remembrance.
“The child” is Faye Hyde of Clovis. She is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and a writer. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.