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A Step on the Moon
My mother always had an avid imagination. Ever since I was nothing more than an embryo in her womb, she would tell me fantastical stories of mysterious islands filled with mythical creatures and women who rode dragons like horses and evil men who tried to destroy the livelihood of the well-doers on these islands.
When I was born and began to walk and talk, she would teach me the wonders of nature. She would teach me how, if you listened close enough, you could hear the angels in Heaven whispering or sometimes singing on the wind. She would take me on long walks into the forest behind our house and tell me to pick a cone on the highest branch of the tallest pine and make a wish. And then she would tell me that when that cone fell to the ground, my wish would come true.
My mother would always find something strange and wonderful about the creatures she found while cleaning the bathroom pipes. She would take me aside and tell me the secret of the Grand Daddy Long Leg. She would take my hand, pull me close and whisper in my ear, “Where are the cows that graze in the pastures?”
She always told me to add “please.”
“It’s always better to be polite, even to animals.”
Whenever you would ask that very question, the Long Leg would lift one of his many long legs and point in any direction. No one is sure why this is, but one thing is for certain and that one thing is that if you look, far enough, wide enough, you were sure to find, somewhere in the world, a cow grazing in a pasture somewhere in the direction the Long Leg pointed his long leg.
Mother knew this secret and many others and she would always find something magical about any creature from the mud burrowing earthworm to the great blue whale; every living, breathing creature had its own story; its own voice.
Even though Mother had told me many times before and I had heard the stories my entire life, I don’t think I ever truly believed that the canary sang because its Heaven spirit longed to find its one true love lost among the petals of the cherry blossoms and believed that, if he sang long enough and loud enough, his long lost love would return to him.
Or that the flying fish flies because he is actually an ancient form of eagle which once fell in love with a beautiful salmon and gave up his feathers for an eternity of scales.
But, you know, I don’t think it really matters whether or not I believe my mother’s stories; she believes them and that’s all that matters. And besides, it isn’t her stories that mean the world to me; no, it’s her belief in these stories. She believes with all her heart and soul that the whale created music with her beautiful voice, serenading the creatures of the deep blue into a dream-filled sleep; she believes that mice, with their little hands and feet, continue the work we humans leave behind, once we fall to sleep.
She also believes in me. She believes that I can be and will be whatever I want to be. Most parents tell their children that, one day, they will become the next president of the United States of America; my mother actually believes it. Most parents tell their children that they will be a ballerina when they get older; my mother believes I will be performing with the Royal Ballet before my twentieth birthday...if I want. Most parents tell their children they will be the next great quarterback; my mother believes I will be the first female quarterback in the NFL...if I want. Most parents tell their children they will be an astronaut when they grow up; my mother can already see me flying around with the shooting stars...if I want.
So, it doesn’t matter whether or not the many fantastical stories told from my mother’s imagination are believed--by me or anyone else--because that’s not what’s important. What’s important is her belief. And with her belief in the impossible and the unimaginable and the out-of-this-world guiding me throughout my life and giving me the strength to pursue my many dreams, I know that one day...
I will take a step on the moon.