It was a warm summer day
when the gods placed it in her hands.
She trembled with emotion
as she saw how fragile it appeared.
This was a very special gift
the gods were entrusting to her.
A gift that would one day belong to the world.

Until then, they instructed her,
she was to be its guardian and protector.
The woman said she understood
and reverently took it home,
determined to live up to the faith
the gods had placed in her.

At first she barely let it out of her sight,
protecting it from anything she perceived
to be harmful to its well-being;
watching with fear in her heart
when it was exposed to the environment
outside of the sheltered cocoon
she had formed around it.

But the woman began to realize
that she could not shelter it forever.
It needed to learn to survive
the harsh elements in order to grow strong.
So with gentle care she gave it more space to grow...
enough to allow it to grow wild and untamed.

One day she became aware
of how much the gift had changed.
It no longer had a look of vulnerability about it.
Now it seemed to glow with strength and steadiness,
almost as if it were developing a power within.
Month after month she watched
as it became stronger and more powerful,
and the woman remembered her promise.

She knew deep within her heart
that her time with the gift was nearing an end.

The inevitable day arrived
when the gods came to take the gift
and present it to the world.

The woman felt a deep sadness,
for she would miss its constant presence in her life.
With heartfelt gratitude
she thanked the gods
for allowing her the privilege
of watching over the precious gift for so many years.

Straightening her shoulders,
she stood proud,
knowing that it was, indeed, a very special gift.
One that would add
to the beauty and essence of the world around it.

And the mother let her child go.

Renee R. Vroman
from Condensed Chicken Soup for the Soul

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