A Strange Little Tale of Motherhood


Once upon a time there was a little girl named Patty who, more than anything in the world, wanted to be a Mommy. She played with dolls and hugged and kissed all the babies she could get her hands on. She had the names for her babies picked out. They were Kitty, Kat, Polka, and Dot.

Two years later, the little girl went to school. She bossed the other kids around when it was play time. One boy was the daddy and all the other kids who would play her game were delegated to be her children. Some days she had only three children, other days she had twelve.

The days that she had lots of babies, she would number them and that would be their name. Other days, she would call them Snap, Crackle, and Pop or the days of the week.

Three years later, the little girl was in grade four. No one wanted to play her games with her. So she brought her favourite doll to school with her to keep her company.

One day, one of the popular girls grabbed her doll and started throwing it around the play ground.

The little wanna-be-momma was angry! How dare someone throw her baby around! She desperately tried to catch her baby as the other kids joined in, throwing the doll around, laughing and taunting Patty as they did so.

She couldn’t get anywhere near her doll until one other girl refused to play. She caught the doll and she held onto it.

Patty lunged for her doll, tears streaming down her face. She grabbed her doll, spun around, and ran back the corner of the playground.

After that, she was no longer aloud to bring her doll to school. But she had made a new friend. Olive, the girl who had refused to play the mean game with all the other school kids, gave her a letter that day at the end of school.

She had written, “Dear Patty, I’m sorry those kids were so mean to you. I know what it’s like when people are mean. Can we be friends? Olive.”

Patty and Olive stayed best friends all throughout school. Patty stuck to her dream of wanting to be a Mom. Olive wanted to be a scientist. She had received a microscope when she was in grade 5 and she told Patty about all her discoveries. And Patty told Olive everything she knew about babies and being a good Mom.

After high school, Patty went to Community College to get her Early Childhood Educators degree and Olive went to University. They lost touch as their lives got busy.

One day out of the blue, Olive got an invitation to Patty’s wedding. “Ah ha,” she thought. “Patty’s now on her way to living her dream of being a Mommy!”

Olive went to Patty’s wedding without a date. She wasn’t concerned with finding a husband or having babies. She wanted to study all the time. Nothing was more important to her than science and research. That’s what she had always wanted and that’s how she liked her life.

A few years later, Olive got a letter from Patty. Patty was pregnant and she wanted Olive to be her baby’s godmother. Would Olive do it?

Olive was touched. She couldn’t believe that Patty would still think of her. And there was no way that Patty’s baby would ever end up with her. Why not be the godmother?

Patty had her baby. Olive became a godmother. But they didn’t live happily ever after.

Patty got cancer the next year and died very quickly. Patty’s husband was killed in a car accident three months later.

And suddenly, Olive was a mother. She had never wanted to be a mother. She doubted her skills. All she knew about parenting was…well, nothing. Her whole life had been devoted to science.

When Olive went to pick up her new daughter’s things at Patty’s old house, she found the doll that had started their friendship. It didn’t look as good as Olive remembered it, but there was no doubt that it was the same doll.

She picked up the doll and held her tight, smelling the hair to see if it still smelled like baby powder.

It did. It brought Olive right back to the day when she had rescued Patty from the bullies at school. And how, from that day onward, Patty had talked to her about nothing else than being a mom. She did know a little about parenting and kids from Patty.

She took the doll along with the rest of the things that had been put aside for her new daughter.

She was now a Mom. Not near as good a Mom as Patty would have been, but no one knew Patty better than Olive. Olive would spend the rest of her life telling Patty’s daughter — her daughter — all the stories she could remember about her Mom.

They would be okay.

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