One Step At A Time

The Watermelon Seed Which my Mother Ate

When you are little your parents try to scare you when you eat watermelon by saying “Don’t swallow the seeds or else a watermelon will start to grow in your tummy”. Whenever I ate watermelon I make sure to carefully eat it in fear of accidentally swallowing a seed, and having to live with the pain of a watermelon growing inside of me. I was three when my mother’s stomach began to swell. My mother’s stomach got rounder and rounder as the months passed. As a three years old, I could only come to the conclusion that my mother had in fact swallowed a watermelon seed. You can imagine the fear this struck within a child with little to no knowledge of how biology works. This fear nagged onto me for months until my parents finally decided to tell me that my mom was pregnant with my younger sister. They probably talked about my mother being pregnant around me but I probably never paid attention with my very short attention span. My fear of a watermelon growing in my mother subsided and was replaced with excitement for my younger sister. 

Wood Chips that Sprouted Into Flowers 

Woodchips. Dry, pokey, small. Wood Chips are part of almost all children’s playgrounds, especially the ones at schools. Huntington Valley Preschool, the school I went to for preschool. There were two playgrounds, one with sand and one with wood chips. I loved the playground with sand but that was for the littler kids, rarely did I ever get to play in it. I was confined to the playground with the woodchips for the most part of my preschool life. Wood Chips weren’t as good as sand, they hurt when you pressed your hand against them and you couldn’t sculpt them into things when they were wet. 

One day my whole perception of wood chips change. Suddenly being on the playground with wood chips was the best thing ever. To me, wood chips were now magical seeds that would grow amazing plants. I would spend my recess and lunch picking out the best and most perfect wood chips and stuff them into my socks. I would bring these wood chips home and store them in a secret place in my garage. My plan was to grow and beautiful garden with these miracle seeds. This cycle went on for about three weeks before my mom caught me emptying out my socks after school one day. I was too embarrassed to explain that they magical seeds that I would use to make a garden so I just told her they were pretty and that I liked them. She told me to stop and would check my shoes after school every day there on after, little did she know I had my secret stash of wood chips waiting to be turned into flowers. 


It got stuck in my hair. It was smooth and almost soft. My mom would almost always yell at me when I tracked some into the house after playing in it. My sandpit. Most of my childhood consisted of make-believe, fantasy, and fairy tales. My sandpit was my escape into a world of my imagination, it was magic. I was a princess with an amazing castle, with towers reaching the sky, ballrooms that were always ready to be filled with people in elegant dresses and fancy coats. Sometimes I was a mermaid that was exploring the vast ocean with my companions (the molds of sea creatures that were used to shape the sand). My fantasies, like many things, were short-lived because my mom always interrupted to tell me to come inside and take a shower. 


I had two favorite pairs of shoes growing up. One pair was sparkly with rhinestones on the tip, they lit up whenever I stepped hard enough. I always enjoyed the range of colors that my shoes had when they lit up. The other pair of shoes had a piece on the bottom that would let me spin on my toes. They made me feel like a ballerina. The best part about both of these shoes is that they were easy to take on and off. I didn’t have to spend time trying to figure out where the bunny ears go. Over. Under. Over. Under. My dad tried to teach me how to tie my shoes plenty of times but it always ended with me giving up. Besides, no one else in preschool knew how to tie their shoes either.

Pink. Blue. White. My mom got me a new pair of shoes because my sparky and ballerina ones had outgrown me. The shoes she got were plain, but they were hot pink so how could I resist? Laces. It had laces. I actually had to learn how to tie my shoes, this horrified me. How was I supposed to get all the sand out of my shoes before all the other kids went inside? What if they all left me to go play because I was taking too long to tie my shoes? I begged my mom to get me another pair of shoes, she refused. The next few weeks consisted of me shoving my feet in the sparkly or ballerina shoes. My feet felt like they were in a sausage casing. My mom soon became frustrated and gave in. My new pair of shoes were yellow Toms. They weren’t pretty but at least they didn’t have laces. 


Mommy and daddy lied, the tooth fairy was never real. I woke up to mommy putting money under my pillow. Mommy and daddy lied, it wasn’t really Santa who gave me my favorite presents. I saw the same wrapping paper Santa used in a box next to their bed. Mommy and daddy lied, they promised they would never leave. They said they would always be with me, but I knew that wasn’t true. One day I would be alone in this world without them. They didn’t lie about that, not yet. Mommy and daddy lied many times, but I know it was never to hurt me. They protect me from the world filled with monsters from under my bed and in my closet. They protect me with their lies. 

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