One Two Eight
Invites You to Make a Book for a Child
~ Make a Book for a Child ~
Your Legacy is Giving a Legacy to Others
All stories are written by Tracy R. L. O’Flaherty
Copyrights ~ Book Title and Contents are given to the child
I wished I could go outside, just to play in the garden. The rain was pouring down so hard that I could hardly see out my bedroom window. I wondered where the rain comes from? I looked out of the window between the droplets of rain and I wanted to understand where the rain comes from, where all things come from. Where did I come from?
"Dolly, are you in your room?"
I heard my mom's voice echo throughout the hallway.
"Yes, mom. I am in my room watching the rain."
"Dolly, would you like to come with me? I have something I would like to share with you."
I looked out once again before leaving my place on the large windowsill, and I wondered, who created the rain?
"Where are we going, mom?"
"We are going up to the attic."
"The attic? I have never been in the attic before. What's in the attic?"
"Great treasures, Dolly."
"I love to find treasures."
"I thought since the weather was going to keep us inside for the afternoon, I thought perhaps you would enjoy going through the old linen chest that I have kept for many years."
"The linen chest? What's in the linen chest?"
As my mom made her way down the long hallway, I truly didn't know where we were going. She looked up and I followed her gaze to discover a small square opening that I had never noticed ever before.
"Is that the attic?"
"Yes, Dolly, that is the attic."
"How do we get inside? Are we to go inside?"
"Yes, just watch the magic."
My mom got an old stool from one of the spare rooms, and as she stood on the stool, I was in amazement that I had never noticed the attic before.
"Mom, do you go in there often?"
"No, sweet one, only on special occasions."
"Special occasions? It isn't a holiday."
"You are right. It isn't a holiday, but it is indeed a special occasion."
"What is the occasion?"
"The rain that gave us the opportunity to go exploring."
I smiled, as my mom truly loved being excited about anything. She could make the simplest of things really good. This was to be grand.
She slid the large tile open and inside was a staircase.
"Mom, are those stairs?"
"Yes, Dolly, these stairs come down for us to climb. Please stand over by the wall."
I stood with excitement. I stood watching my mom be excited about the tucked away stairs leading to something. I wondered what was in the attic. I really wondered what was in the linen chest.
The stairs touched the floor and my mom climbed up first.
"Is everything okay up there?" I asked looking into the hole in which dust could be seen filtering down. "Mom, the attic has a window."
"Dolly, the attic has many treasures. Okay, Dolly, please place your foot on the bottom rail and hang on to the sides very tightly. I am here watching your every step."
There weren't many steps on the stair-ladder that seemed to come out of... nowhere. How did I not know that this was here all along?
"Dolly, place one foot, then your next, then the next, and when you get to the top, I am here to help you up."
"I think I can do this on my own."
"You can. I know you can."
Up I went, into the most amazing space that I have ever seen. The ceiling was low. My mom had to bend over so her head wouldn't hit the top of the ceiling. I was just the right height that I could walk around without bending over.
"Mom, look at this room. I didn't even know about this room."
I could hear the rain beat upon the tin roof. I could smell the aroma of old things. It was a smell that I hadn't smelled very often.
"Mom, is that the linen chest?"
"That, Dolly, is indeed the linen chest."
My mom got on her knees before the chest and I stood in amazement. I stood looking upon the chest in amazement, and all I could do, was watch as my mom opened the very old chest.
The top of the chest made a creaking sound when my mom lifted it slowly.
"Look, Dolly, just look at the treasures."
There were things I didn't recognize. It appeared that all things were placed so carefully, and everything smelled like old wood. I guess it smelled like an old linen chest would.
"Mom, what is in that box?"
"This, sweet child, has been kept for a few generations, and you are the receiver of the gift."
"What does that mean, the receiver?"
"This has been handed-down many generations, and today, it will be handed to you as a gift."
"But it isn't my birthday, or anything like that," I said with wonderment and some confusion.
"Dolly, today is the perfect day for a perfect gift."
I was so excited to open the box.
"But, mom, why today?"
"Today is your great-grandmother's wedding anniversary."
"Yes, my mother's mother."
"Yes, Dolly. Your great-grandmother wanted you to have this."
"How did she know that I would be here?"
"Let us say, she gave it to my mother, who gave it to me, and today I am giving it to you."
"Mom, what is it?"
I held the small box upon my lap and everything seemed so old looking. I gently lifted the lid just like my mom did when she opened the linen chest. "Mom, what is it?"
"Lift the tissue paper, Love. Lift the tissue."
I lifted the tissue to discover an old, very old looking, teacup and saucer. It had the prettiest pink flowers and gold trim. Even though I knew it was old, it looked as though it were new.
"Mom, this is such a pretty teacup."
"It was given to your great-grandmother the day she married your great-grandfather."
"Wow, it is so beautiful."
"Dolly, do you know what is most special about this cup?"
"No, mom. It is very pretty."
"This cup has always been used to have afternoon tea parties."
"Afternoon tea parties?"
"When I was a very small child, I used this cup to have a tea party with my mom. And when she was a small child, she did the same with her mom."
"But there is only one cup. Where are the rest to have a tea party?"
"Dolly, this cup was used to celebrate the one holding the cup. Today, we are celebrating you."
"But, I haven't done anything."
"Dolly, you must understand how special and wonderful you are."
"Mom, I am just me."
"Dolly, you are the only you, and this, my dear child, is the only teacup in this entire chest."
"But, mom, if we are to have a tea party, what will you use?"
I waited for my mother's answer. I waited until she found her words.
"Sweetheart, this tea party is not just to have tea. This tea party is to give gratitude of all that is dear to your heart."
"I don't understand, mom."
"The tradition with this beautiful cup is to sit quietly, and as you sip your tea, you share with me what you are grateful for."
"I don't think I understand. How is that a tea party?"
"Dolly, it will be the grandest tea party that you may ever have."
I didn't understand, but I was willing to have this tea party with only one cup and saucer.
"When is this tea party?"
"Today, right this moment."
"Okay, I am ready."
My mom held the box and placed the teacup and saucer back in ever so gently. She stood and closed the lid of the chest and asked me to hold the box while she took her steps down the ladder. Just before she reached the bottom, she extended her hand upward for me to place the box into. I was next, and found my footing very easily. One rung at a time, I was led by my mother's voice asking me to be mindful and careful of my steps.
We stood in the hallway anxious for the afternoon tea. Mom placed the ladder back into its original position and closed the tile opening for yet another day.
Into the kitchen we went and the table was already set with a beautiful tablecloth. There were flowers that my mom had picked from the garden earlier in the day, before the rain, and there was a plate of cookies placed perfectly to be shared.
"Mom, this is so pretty."
"Dolly, let us wash your cup and saucer while I put the kettle on."
I sat quietly not truly understanding how we would have a tea party, that wasn't really a party, but with me holding an old cup and saucer just as my mom and her mom did.
My mom prepared the tea, and as she was working about, she was humming a beautiful lullaby. It sounded so pretty, just like the cup itself.
She placed the tea before me, and I was very careful to sip on the tea that was so lovingly prepared.
"Mom, thank you. I don't truly understand, but, thank you."
My mom had beside her place setting a beautiful box of paper. The notes were blank and had flowers etched at the top. "Those are nice, mom."
"This is a writing pad that I keep for special occasions."
She then held a gold-coloured pen and asked me in the most gentle tone what I was grateful for.
Grateful, I thought to myself.
"What are you grateful for, Dolly?"
I wasn't sure what to answer at first, but then it came to me.
"Mom, I am grateful that the rain poured down today."
"Yes, mom, the rain. Where does the rain come from?"
Before my mom could answer, I thought that I would share that I was grateful for my mom, grateful for her mom, and her mom, and the teacup that was held by us all. A different place and a different time, but my great-grandmother held this cup.
"Mom, what are you grateful for?"
"You, sweet child. I am grateful for you."
We spent the afternoon writing many, many, things that we were grateful for. Hours went by and I noticed the rain had stopped.
"Mom, look. The rain has stopped."
She held the gold pen and placed it down on many sheets of paper that had her handwriting, a list of all things we were both grateful for.
I sat feeling so good about the day, about the rain and the sun. I wondered why today. Why would my mom feel that today was the day to have a Grateful Tea Party?
"Mom, why this day? Why today did we have this tea party for one?"
"It wasn't for one, my sweet child. This tea party was to give our blessings and appreciation for our ancestors. It was to honour all the moms in the world. It was to honour all the children in the world."
I was so confused. I didn't truly understand what my mom was saying.
"Dolly, when you give gratitude for all things upon grand Mother Earth, Mother Earth gives gratitude to you. In this gratitude, everything upon the earth feels grateful."
I didn't understand. Tea in one cup, a list of things that we were grateful for, how can this be felt by everything upon Mother Earth?
"Mom, I don't understand."
"When you take the time, Dolly, to find gratefulness in all things, the upsets, the hurts, the joyful things, the not so joyful things, it allows you to understand."
"But, mom, I don't understand."
"You will, sweet one, you will."
We finished our tea party for one and placed the teacup back in its box.
"What about dad? Did he feel our gratefulness?"
"Let us look at the list. How many times did you give gratefulness towards your dad?"
"I don't know, many times."
"Dolly, your list goes on, and on, and on, and your dad certainly is deserving of your gratefulness."
I smiled. I didn't understand, but perhaps, one day I will.
I heard the back door open and my dad walked in.
"There are my girls. Something told me that you would be here."
"Dad, would you like a cookie? Mom and I were having a Grateful Party."
"A grateful party? Look at your beautiful teacup and saucer."
"I know, dad. It was great-grandma's... and she had a party just like this. Mom too. Mom and her mom had a party just like this."
My dad looked with such contentment and a smile that my heart could feel.
"Dad, would you like to read our list of all things that we are grateful for?"
He looked at my mom and said in a soft voice, "Perhaps, the list can be placed in a special place, and perhaps, your mom and you can read the list to me years from now."
I shook my head. "Years from now, why not today?"
"Today was meant for you and your mom."
"But, dad, we have written things about you... how special you are."
I studied my dad's face and I could see his softness in his strength. "Dolly, the present moment is perfect. This moment is perfect. I knew to come into the house because I could feel your heart."
"Feel my heart?"
"Yes, Dolly. I could feel your love and your mom's love."
I didn't understand.
"Dolly, when there is a moment that has been captured in time, the beauty of it is the patience to wait for the gift within the gift."
I didn't understand.
"Today is the perfect day for a perfect gift, and so many generations ago, your great-grandmother knew of the perfect gift to be shared generation after generation."
I didn't understand how my great-grandmother knew that one day I would hold the teacup.
"Dolly, you are the gift, and with that, I hold the gift that you give to me each day."
"But, dad, don't you want to see what we wrote about you?"
"Dolly, I want to tuck it in a box for yet another rainy day, a perfect day for a perfect gift, and we will be shown the perfect day to hold the gift."
"But today is the perfect day. Dad, don't you want to see?"
"I did see."
"No, you didn't."
"Dolly, I see it in your eyes. I feel it in my heart. Dolly... today is the perfect day for a perfect gift, and you are the perfect gift."