It was the day before her tenth birthday and all the women sat around an old oak table. She listened closely around the corner as they began to mingle and gossip. The oldest talked about the past and hopes for the youth. The youngest shared their pain and hopes for the old.
Story after story was brought up until Mama finally spoke. Her ears strained to listen but she didn’t have to wait long.
“My baby is turning ten tomorrow and it only feels like yesterday I was rocking her to sleep,” Mama said.
“Come now. She’s still your little one,” assured Mama’s sister.
“Yes, but it isn’t long before she goes off to college,” Mama answered with worry in her voice.
“Sshh…child. She takes after her mother and is already following in your foot steps,” Grandmother said softly.
She pulled her ear away and tilted her head. She looked behind her and down at her feet. How did they know she was following Mama’s footsteps? How was that a good thing?
Curious to know the answer, she ran out from her hiding place and into Great Grandmother’s lap.
The little girl looked into each of the women’s eyes and asked, “Why is it a good thing I’m following Mama’s footsteps?”
Great Grandmother chuckled, “Because your mother is a hard worker and has come a long way. She’s doing well for herself. Don’t you want to do well too?”
Squirming under the watch of the women, the little girl nodded her head shyly and probed, “But, why must I follow her footsteps? Why can’t I create my own?”
Shaking her head in good humor, her mother stretched out her hand for her baby. The little girl walked over to her and Mama kissed her atop the head before saying, “She doesn’t mean that you won’t make your own footsteps. You can zig and zag as much as you want. Just don’t forget to come home to these arms, okay?”
The little girl’s eyes shone bright as she nodded her head and kissed Mama on the cheek. But before she ran off, Mama caught a glimpse of the many generations of women in their family and she knew that her baby would be just fine for the years to come.
© 2016 Jessica Santos