This is part of a series I’ve shared from time to time about Amelia and how she wants to be the first chicken to fly to the moon and back. Here is the most recent posting if you are a new reader or just want a refresher before reading today’s story.
“Those are really nice. What are they for?” Emily was examining some of my flower drawings.
“They are part of a Hatchday surprise for Gracie and Bessie.”
“You know I love our garden home. I love watching things bloom and grow.”
“Yes, I know. Whenever we have free-range time in the backyard and garden, you’re always the one who walks down the garden paths before scratching for any bugs.”
“The bugs will always be there, but the flowers are only with us for a season.”
“You know, Emily, you are a bit of a philosopher.”
“I don’t know what I am other than a chicken. Everyone else has a special interest. Gracie has ballet. Bessie has cooking. Pearl has comedy. Blanche has eating. I don’t have anything.”
“You didn’t mention Amelia.”
“Because she wants to fly away and be an explorer. She is going to be the first chicken to fly to the moon and back.”
“And she will leave you behind?”
Emily looked down at her feet.
“I’m afraid she’s going to leave me forever. She is the only friend I’ve known for my whole life. It’s not easy for me to make new friends. I’m small.”
“I know. But as hard as it is on you thinking about Amelia maybe leaving, it could be even harder on Amelia. If we love her, we can’t stand in her way or make her feel guilty.”
Emily sank to the ground. It was as if the weight of all this was more than she could bear.
“This may be the most difficult thing you and I will ever have to do. But we will have to do it for Amelia.”
Emily raised her head and looked off into the camellias where the song birds like to build their nests. “Sometimes I want to tell her not to go,” she said, raising her voice almost in anger, but she held back.
“Sometimes I want to beg her to please take me with her,” she said softly as if to cry.
“But I know I can’t go with her. I wouldn’t survive. I’m not as strong as she is. I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I’m smaller, and I’d only hold her back. She would be so worried about protecting me that she might lose her focus and get hurt herself. I can’t let that happen.”
She rested her head on my shoe, and we sat together for a while, neither of us saying anything.
“Emily, it is a beautiful gift and sacrifice you are willing to give Amelia.”
“What do you mean?” She looked up at me, unaware of her own goodness.
“I mean if you asked her, she would take you with her, and you would be happy. But you know it would risk her life. So you don’t ask. You are giving up your happiness to let her do what she must do to find her own happiness.”
“I love her so much.”
I nodded in silent agreement.
“She will always be our Amelia. But we must remember she must always be her own Amelia first.”
After a long silence, Emily said, “I like the daffodils.”
“They really are bright and cheerful, aren’t they? Are they your favorite? We can plant even more of them if they are your favorite.”
“I’m not sure if I have a favorite.”
“Yes, I know what you mean. A big part of designing a nice garden is putting different things side-by-side so everything looks like it belongs together. One plant compliments another one, just like you and Amelia compliment each other even though you look different.”
“Do you think we can plant more of everything? And make it so there are flowers blooming all of the time?”
“That sounds like a beautiful idea. But why blooming all of the time?”
“So maybe when Amelia has flown up to the moon, she can look back down and see all of the flowers here in our yard. And so maybe she will discover she misses them. I don’t think they have flowers on the moon.”
She took a deep breath and whispered very hopefully, “And so maybe she will discover she misses us too.”
“Emily, I think she already misses us, even though she hasn’t left yet.”
She considered this carefully and said, “Then I think all of the flowers will help Amelia find her way back to us. She will know which house is ours by all of the flowers everywhere.”
She had a more determined tone in her voice which was good to hear. I stood up and reached for my shovel.
“Emily, you can help with adding more flowers, whatever kinds you’d like. Maybe gardening is your special interest. For today, let’s divide and transplant the Japanese Iris. They are just starting to come up, and now is the time before it’s too late.”
Emily seemed happy to be doing something to help move forward in her own way. She began searching for a new and perfect spot for them. “I think they are one of Amelia’s favorites. They are beautifully tall and slender. They reach for the sky just like she does.”
“You’re right.” I agreed.
I started digging and Emily started scratching in the spot she had chosen. It was nice to see her putting her worries aside for a time.
“And Emily, I can guarantee there are absolutely no Japanese Iris plants on the moon.”
Emily was delighted to hear this.
My Life With Gracie (and especially Emily) taught me beautiful things always help you find your way back home.