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Loving Innocence

Five-year-old Kayla stood at the picture window in the family living room watching for her neighbor, Mrs. Foster, to come outside. Since Mrs. Foster’s daughter and granddaughter had moved away, Mrs. Foster seemed so sad. Lori, her granddaughter, had been her best friend and she had promised Lori that she wouldn’t let Mrs. Foster be lonely and miss her too much. Mrs. Foster always planted flowers to make her yard pretty, but she hadn’t come out to plant any since Lori had moved away. She enjoyed planting flowers with Lori and Mrs. Foster. She smiled when she saw Mrs. Foster come out onto her front porch and simply stood looking out at her yard. With a whoop of joy, Kayla ran for the front door.

“Kayla, where are you going?”, her mother, Yvonne called from the kitchen.

“I’m going to help Gram Martha plant flowers!” Kayla yelled back as she ran out of the door. Yvonne rushed to the door in time to see Kayla run across the yards and onto Mrs. Foster’s porch.

“Hi Gram Martha!”, Kayla greeted her neighbor.

“Hello Kayla. What brings you over here?” Martha Foster inquired of her young neighbor who made her wish that her own granddaughter was still at her home.

“Lori said that it was time to plant flowers and she wanted me to help you since she couldn’t be here to help you. She said that I should help you not miss her too much,” Kayla explained to her.

“Oh!”, Martha exclaimed, taken aback by the little girl’s answer. It was something that her granddaughter would have said to Kayla. She stood, shaken for the moment. She didn’t feel like planting flowers since Lori and her mother had moved away. She was tempted to scream this at the little girl looking up so happily expectant at her.

“I can go with you to pick out the flowers. Lori told me what kind she liked,” Kayla informed her in complete innocence not realizing how sad she was feeling.

“I hadn’t planned to plant flowers this year,” Martha alibied to the little girl.

“Oh, but you have to! Lori said she wanted to see her favorite flowers when she comes home to visit you!” Kayla insisted. “She said that I should spend the day with you just like she would have!”

Martha felt all kinds of emotions run through her body. At first, she wanted to scream at Kayla to go home and leave her alone, but the sweet child didn’t deserve such harsh treatment. Kayla was keeping a promise that she had made to Lori.

“Okay. Go ask your mother if it’s okay for you to go with me to the garden center while I get my purse and car keys,” Martha said giving in to the little girl.

The ride to the garden center was filled with laughter as Kayla wanted to sing the songs that she, Martha, had taught her and Lori. Martha joined in as they would do silly hand gestures at the red lights. At the garden center, Martha helped Kayla pick the flowers that Lori had told her that she wanted.

Kayla had asked all kind of questions and Martha had patiently answered them all giving the inquisitive little girl her undivided attention. Kayla pointed out the yard statue that Lori had also wanted. Martha didn’t hesitate, she bought the cute little gnome that both Lori and Kayla loved. When they were finished at the garden center, it was lunch time.

“Where should we go for lunch?” Martha asked of her little companion.

“How about Rusty’s,” Kayla replied looking at her with a smile. It was a favorite place of Lori’s.

At Rusty’s they got burgers, fries and milk shakes. There was sing-a-longs by the servers and they joined in happily. Martha watched as Kayla took part in the children’s dance line, laughing joyously at the happiness on the child’s face.

“I need to grocery shop. Care to join me?” Martha asked Kayla.

“I love to grocery shop with my Mom,” Kayla replied.

From Rusty’s, they went to the grocery store. Kayla proved to be a wonderful helper, just as her granddaughter, Lori, had been.

Finally, they made it home. Yvonne had been looking out for them and came out to help them unload the car of the plants onto Martha’s porch.

“I hope Kayla wasn’t a problem,” Yvonne expressed to Martha.

“No, she was just the thing I needed. Her sweetness, kindness and loving ways were just what I needed to pull me up out of the doldrums of self-pity. We grow-up and our innocence gets buried under all of the problems that hit us. Today, she reminded me that innocence was still there in my life,” Martha told Yvonne.

“May we all retain our innocence as long as possible and not let the world take it away from us,” Yvonne said as the two women watched the happy little girl dance around the yard.

Kayla smiled. She had kept her promise to Lori and had a great day as well.

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