Genesis and Willow

Written by Sydney Mathis

Summary

Genesis is heading off to college within the year. Genesis and her mother, Willow, are two peas in a pod. Genesis decides to build a tire swing for her mother because Willow has many memories of time spent with her mother and Genesis on an old tire swing. Genesis rebuilds the tire swing and Willow can use the tire swing every time she misses Genesis and her mother.

Keywords: future, memories, tire swing, coping

Hi! Nice to meet you! I am Genesis, or Gen for short. I go to a small high school in Loveland, Colorado. I absolutely love my family, friends, and community. This seems like such a great place to raise children. We have the most beautiful view of the mountains! My family isn’t rich, and by family, I mean my mom and I. It has just been the two of us against the world for as long as I can remember. My mom used to tell me that my dad is an astronaut but I have outgrown those foolish fibs. My mom has been my everything. She took care of us. She kept food on the table and a roof over our heads. We didn’t live lavishly, but I have no complaints here.

My mother, Willow (named after the whimsical tree), is the most beautiful woman. It is hard to believe my father left her behind. She has always been such a free spirit. I envy her. She never worries or stresses and always believes life will work out. But don’t worry, I stress enough for the both of us. She has bounced around jobs in the past, but seems to have found some joy as a librarian a few towns over. Lately, she seems to talk a lot about a man named Steven, and based on our few interactions, I can’t say I see what she sees. Despite my feelings, he still comes by the house to visit Willow, even when I am home.

Anyways, enough about her. It is the summer after my Junior year and I am dreading my senior year. I can’t leave Willow. I need her, or she needs me. I have never been sure who needs who more. This is my last year before I am supposed to run off to the college of my dreams, but the problem is I have been so invested in the present that I haven’t even thought about the future. College is not the biggest concern on my mind, it’s leaving Willow. We have always had each other and that was enough. Now, I am expected to pack up and chase my own dreams. What dreams do I have that don’t involve Willow. I know she wants me to be happy, but I am happy in the present…we are a little whimsical if you haven’t noticed. I know I am going to have to move on to follow my own path, but I need Willow to know how much I love her before I am gone. I want to do something special for her to show her I will never leave and forget my roots. Something so insanely meaningful that she doesn’t miss me when I am gone.

…2 weeks later…

I know she is going to remember this forever. I found the old tire at my grandpa’s house. It wasn’t in great condition but it would do the trick. I also managed to get my hands on some old rope from the local hardware store. Unfortunately I had to ask Steven, my mom’s man friend, for help with assembling the project. Oh right, I forgot to tell you what the surprise is!

My grandmother used to push Willow on the old tired swing at my grandparents house. Every time we visited my grandparents, my mom would push me on that old tired swing as well. Until one unforgettable day a terrible storm tore through their town and destroyed the swing, tree and all. My mother was devastated because it was one of the last things she had that reminded her of her mother. Her mother was sick and passed away just before the storm came through. Every day for 2 weeks following my grandmother’s death, Willow would go sit on the swing at my grandpa’s house and cry until it was time to go home. I always sat inside with my grandpa to let Willow have her alone time to mourn the loss of her mother. I know she is still devastated today.

I am going to rebuild that tire swing, with the help of Steven, my mom’s man friend. Steven arrived a little after lunch while my mother was away working at the library and I was off to school on summer break. We slung the rope over the largest branch on the tree. We attached each end of the rope to the tire, right where the old rope used to tie. We made sure each knot was fastened tight. Once it was complete I asked Steven to leave because I did not want to share this moment with him when my mother got home.

She got home around 7 just as the sun was setting over the mountains. It was perfect timing. I met her at the front door and asked her to close her eyes so I could show her the surprise. Willow is such a free spirit and loves surprises. I took her hands and led her to the backyard of our small isolated home. I led her all the way to the largest tree that stood in the middle of our backyard. I finally told her to open her eyes.

Willow began to weep. I was initially worried that I had brought up sad memories for my mother, until she turned to me and smiled with tears still streaming down her face. I told her that I made it for her because I have to go off to college in a year. I said I wanted her to think of grandma and me and all the wonderful memories we shared on that old tire swing. Every time she misses us, she can go out and sit on that old swing and remember how things used to be. Life is changing and living in the present is amazing, but remembering the past fills our heart with joy and reminds us that we are not lonely when we are alone.

Willow was speechless in the moment. She was crying and smiling and laughing and sobbing. As the weeks passed I caught Willow staring at the swing from her kitchen window, and on some occasions swinging when I spent long nights studying at the library. I knew the swing was exactly what she needed and I don’t think Willow will miss me as much when I head off to college next year. Now it is time to see where the future takes me.

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Humanizing Science through STEAM Challenges Copyright © 2021 by E.J. Bahng and John M. Hauptman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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