My Nana says I’m her favourite girl in the whole, wide world. My Nana gives me big, warm hugs. She lets me help her make scrumptious gingerbread men. I decorate them with special icing tubes. I use blue for the eyes and green for the buttons. Nana puts hearts on hers.
‘Why do you put hearts on your gingerbread men, Nana?’ I ask.
‘Hearts are for love,’ Nana says.
‘But you can’t really see hearts,’ I say. ‘Hearts are hidden inside.’
‘Yes, they are,’ says Nana, ‘but you can feel the love from the hearts people have.’
‘And from the gingerbread men,’ I say.
Nana dabs a bit of red icing on the end of my nose.
After dinner, Nana picks up her knitting. She’s knitting a blanket for my bed. The blanket is made from squares. There are blue and green and purple and red squares. In each square there’s a picture.
In each blue square there’s a yellow bird.
‘Why are there birds in the squares, Nana?’ I ask.
‘Birds are for freedom,’ Nana says.
In each green square there’s a tall tree.
‘Why are there trees in the squares, Nana?’ I ask
‘Trees are for growing,’ Nana says.
In each purple square is an orange flower.
‘Why are there flowers in the squares, Nana? ‘I ask.
‘Flowers are for beauty,’ Nana says.
I look at the red squares. ‘And hearts are for love,’ I say.
Nana hugs me tight.
In the morning when I wake up, Nana helps me to get dressed. She has on her old overalls and a scarf covers her hair.
‘What’s the plan for today?’ I ask Nana.
‘It feels like a gardening day,’ Nana says.
After breakfast we collect the rake and the spade and the little digger, and my gardening gloves. Nana doesn’t wear gardening gloves. She likes to feel the soil on her hands. Nana says we’ll plant a garden of love.
‘Will it be a heart garden?’ I ask. Nana just smiles.
We do make a heart-shaped garden. We plant chrysanthemums for friendship, gardenias for joy and geraniums for comfort.
After all the planting, Nana makes milkshakes and we eat some gingerbread men. At bedtime, Nana usually reads me a story but on this night she says she is too tired. Daddy reads to me instead.
The next morning Daddy wakes me up.
‘Where’s Nana?’ I ask.
Daddy sits on the side of my bed. ‘Nana is in hospital,’ he says.
‘Why?’ I ask.
‘Her heart is sore,’ Daddy says.
Later that day, Daddy takes me to the hospital to visit Nana. She is asleep and Daddy says we shouldn’t wake her up.
I kiss her soft old cheek gently. On her pillow, I put my present. In a red blanket square I have wrapped a gingerbread man with a red heart on it. And on the little parcel I have taped a red geranium.
‘Get better soon,’ Nana,’ I say.
© June Keir 2012 image credit
Bedtime Stories downloadable tales for children are an AWO initiative, run in support of the National Year of Reading 2012. We encourage you to print and read these stories with your kids, and revel in the joy a wonderful story can bring. All stories are original and have been penned by established and emerging Australian authors. Every month, we will publish four stories running to a central theme, each on a Monday morning. See here for more.