David looked proudly at his project. He had worked very hard to make it perfect for Mommy. He had even stayed in at recess to finish it instead of play dodgeball with the rest of his first-grade class.
He had started out with a large sheet of plain white paper. Then he had carefully cut out bright yellow flowers, curly red flowers, and big orange flowers with long petals. Next, he had carefully glued them one by one onto his paper. With green crayons of two different shades, he had drawn tall stems and wavy leaves on all the flowers. In the very center of the largest yellow flower, he carefully spelled out “I love you.”
“What a beautiful garden, David,” said his teacher. “Your mother will be very pleased.”
“Thank you,” David answered politely. “I made it big so it would be special.”
After school, he went to the back of the room to get his jacket. He set his lunch box and the picture on the floor while he put on his jacket. When he reached down to pick up his picture, he heard an awful tearing sound. His foot had been on the edge of the paper, and a big piece tore completely off. Sadly, David threw the piece away. The rest was still big enough to be special, but not as big as he had wanted it to be.
He started walking home, holding Mommy’s picture carefully in one hand and his lunch box in the other. As he passed Mrs. Johnson’s house, the picture caught on a branch of her rosebush. One whole corner was ripped into shreds. He tore it off and threw it into a nearby dumpster. He hoped Mommy would like what was left of her picture, even though it wasn’t very big anymore.
A sudden gust of wind tore the paper from his grasp at the corner of his block. He chased it down the sidewalk and finally caught up with it, but not before it had landed partway in a puddle. Nearly everything that was left of Mommy’s garden picture was soggy.
As David entered his own yard, he tossed the damaged part into the big trash can near the gate, saving only the yellow flower that said “I love you.” He trudged into the house. “I have something for you, Mommy,” he called.
“What is it, honey?” she asked, coming to give him a big welcome-home hug.
“It’s a flower. It was a whole garden, and it was special because it was big, but this is all there is left.” He held the yellow flower out to her.
“Why, David, this is perfect!” exclaimed Mommy, taking the flower and giving him another big hug. “And it’s just the right size!”
She went over to the table, picked up her purse, and took out her new wallet. “Look,” she said. “It fits into the last empty window in my wallet. I can take my special flower with me everywhere I go, and it will remind me of the special boy who made it for me!”
David grinned a big, happy, “I love you” grin.