Today is the day. Sparrow knows that it is time as she is being moved into the delivery room on a rolling hospital bed. My daughter is literally aching to get out, Sparrow thinks with a smile. She practices her Lamaze breathing as the nurses and their assistants rush her down the hallway. With
the passing of the overhead lights, Sparrow wishes that her husband Marty could be here but he is deployed overseas. The joys of being a military wife, she contemplates to herself. During their last facetime visit, Sparrow promised to send a picture of their new baby girl to him as soon as possible.
“Alright Mrs. Williams we are here in the delivery room.” The nurse says sweetly to her. “The doctor should be here in five minutes.”
“Okay.” Sparrow puffs out and goes back to her breathing.
During the next twenty-four hours of labour, Sparrow puts all her focus on breathing and pushing. She treats this as a meditation. It’s the best way to keep herself calm and push through even the hardest tasks. It worked for her studying horticulture in college and it is working now.
As soon as her baby daughter is out of her, the nurse places the baby in her arms. She feels completely overwhelmed with love. Looking at this small, beautiful creature that she is meant to love and protect, Sparrow lets tears of joy trail down her eyes.
“Skylar!” She says to her baby. “Welcome to the world, my little Skylar.”
It has been a tradition in her family that all the girls have a name starting with an S. Skylar is the name that she and Marty have chosen together. Sparrow knows that Marty will be so excited to meet her.
“Excuse me Mrs. Williams?” A nurse interrupts as she comes in with a letter.
“Yes?” Sparrow looks up from looking at her daughter.
“This letter came for you.”
After the nurse hands the envelope to her, she takes little Skylar and puts her in the crib before walking out of the room. Sparrow, still basking in her newborn glow turns the envelope over and inspects it. She can see that it is from the Military Reserve where Marty is. She is hopeful that this letter’s telling her that he is coming home for a little while to meet his little girl. She opens the envelope and begins to read the letter with a joyous heart. As she reads on, devastation slowly takes over as she reads that Marty has been killed by accident in a training exercise.
“Noooo!” Sparrow screams as she feels her heart break into a million pieces with fresh tears streaming out of her eyes. This time it is not of joy but complete and utter heartbreak.
Three weeks later, Sparrow stands outside of her dear Aunt Serenity’s house as she is no longer able to afford the apartment that she and Marty had lived in. Her aunt’s house has always been a sanctuary
for her since her parents died when she was five. She gazes over the flowers and remembers how safe she felt when she first saw them. The sights and smells bring her that fresh feeling of love and hope. She wants to give that to Skylar.
Looking down at her little girl fussing ever-so-slightly in her arms, Sparrow promises. “I promise you that I will give you a good life. The kind that I have had here. We’ll be alright.”
Taking her daughter in one arm and her suitcase in the other, Sparrow walks to the door. Before she can tap on the doorbell, her Aunty sporting purple streaks in her grey spiky bob hair cut and wide-rim glasses opens the door. With a kind face and open arms, Serenity embraces both of them warmly.
“Oh, my darling girls!” As she pulls away from the hug, she holds Sparrow with both hands. “Welcome home!”
Serenity takes the suitcase out of Sparrow’s hand and allows them both to come inside. The smells of spices and baking greet her as she enters the room. As she looks at her aunt’s bohemian décor, Sparrow’s eyes begin to water again. She is so grateful that not only does this place feel the same, but that she has a place like this to call home after the horrible tragedy that has hit both her and her daughter.
“I’ve set you both up in your old room.” Serenity says coming out of the room and stands out by the door. She swings her arms dramatically to showcase the bedroom. Sparrow can’t help but smile at her free-spirited Aunt, standing there barefoot and dressed in her usual stylish yoga gear. “I did add a couple of things like the rocking chair and a crib. I thought it might help you for the start but then we can make room for this little muffin as soon as she is bigger.”
Serenity brings little Skylar’s fist to her mouth and pretends to nibble on it, making both the baby and Sparrow laugh.
“Thank you for this Aunty.” Sparrow tearfully says and grabs her aunt for another hug. As she begins to sob on her shoulder, Serenity holds her and brushes her hand through her niece’s shoulder length dark-brown hair, just like she always did when she was upset.
“Shhh. It’s okay my darling. Your home.” Serenity says in that calm voice that makes everything better.
A few short months go by and Sparrow feels that both she and Skylar have settled in nicely. While her Aunt Serenity is working at the Yoga Studio she owns, and she doesn’t have a job right now, Sparrow has been doing everything she can to keep her aunt’s house clean and tidy before she decides what she is going to do. Sparrow walks in from the garden with a wicker basket full of fresh herbs and flowers into the house. With little Skylar sitting in her gentle swing in the middle of the dining room, Sparrow walks up to her and gives her some kisses.
“Hi my sweetie!” She says lovingly. “Ready to make our salad for tonight?”
Skylar gives her a bright-eyed look and a slightly mischievous smile.
“I know what you’re thinking.” Sparrow says playfully to her daughter. “You want to make some more candles and soaps, right?”
While tickling her little feet, Skylar lets out a series of giggles. As Skylar reaches her pudgy arms to her mother, Sparrow unbuckles her belt and speaks. “Alright. You can help.”
Sparrow picks up her daughter and balances on her hip. She walks to the kitchen island and turns on her Spotify play list on her iPad. With gentle instruments and soft lyrics playing, Sparrow begins to sort through all her herbs and flowers in an organized manner. After getting all her tools ready, Sparrow presses her lips to her baby’s forehead.
“I need two hands for this part.” She whispers and puts her daughter in her high chair.
With her curious daughter watching her, Sparrow takes out her special set of scissors. With the pression of a designer, Sparrow cuts up each herb in small diagonal pieces. Immediately she cleans the scissors and plans on using them to carve some candles after she finishes making her soaps. She plucks her petals and tosses her herbs into a mixture of vegetable glycerin with coconut and cocoa butters. A couple of drops of coloring dye give the soap a light green hue. As she takes her mixture and pours it into her molds, Sparrow feels contentment and relaxation fill her heart. She is blessed to have found that soap-making tutorial on YouTube. It gave her a hobby that she finds very satisfying and forget losing the love of her life for a short time.
Suddenly, her aunt bursts through the door, waving her hands excitedly. “Sparrow! I have great news.”
Sparrow studies her aunt. She still can’t believe that at 67 years old she is still so spry and energetic. Watching her black sweat shirt billowing with her flapping arms and showing off her cheetah print leggings makes her wonder if her aunt even knows how old she is. “Wow! Aunty what is it?”
“All of your soaps and sugar scrubs sold out at the studio!” Serenity says bouncing up and down on her teal-painted toes.
“What?” Sparrow says surprised.
“It’s gone! All sold out and your candles are quickly selling too!” She speaks. “People are asking for more. I’m telling you; you have got to start that store on Facebook Marketplace. You can start that business you have been dreaming of since you were a little girl.”
Sparrow is at a loss for words. She holds her excited Aunt’s hands and hearing this news has her make a life altering decision. She walks to her computer, goes on Facebook and begins to create her store right then and there. Who knows what this is going to bring?
Five years later, Sparrow walks into the Farmer’s Market where her own special little spot called “The Sky and Sparrow Apothecary” sits. It is named after both her and her daughter. With a turn of her key, she opens the gate to her stall. Skylar giggles and goes to her own special little spot in the stall. An antique wooden wheelbarrow with the collection of found items that she just cherishes. Sparrow doesn’t know why she loves all of this seemingly random stuff but according to Aunt Serenity, she is discovering the life path and passion that fate has in store for her. Sparrow didn’t buy into that new-age mysticism that Serenity and her parents were into but she has to admit that she created something magical here.
A deep happy sigh escapes her red painted lips as she walks over to her counter and turns on the lights. She takes off her black coat and smooths out her simple but stylish red polka dot dress.
“Skylar.” Sparrow gently calls and her little girl’s head pops up. “Come hang up your coat please.”
Like a little shot, Skylar rushes behind the counter, takes off her coat and runs back to the vintage wheelbarrow. Sparrow can’t help but shake her head. Whatever her daughter is playing and planning over there is a bit of a mystery. Never-the-less, it keeps her quiet and well-behaved during store hours so she didn’t question it
Sparrow looks around her store dreamily. She had an array of wooden shelves painted in wooden beige, a light orange, and lime green to give the place a little whimsy. Sitting on these shelves are a multitude of teas that came from her very own garden and spices that she has to special order every time it sells. The theme of this place is “gardening” and Sparrow wanted to show that. Indoor plants are placed carefully where they are showcased with other natural items. Some glass decorative balls hang in the window, and a shelf in the center of the store has her various body products sitting there. The shelf on the opposite side of the tea wall shows off some bath bombs that both she and Skylar have concocted together. Skylar insists on them being bright and colorful like rainbows.
The first customers of the day walk in and Sparrow gently interrupts Skylar’s play time. “Skylar sweetie.”
Skylar looks up and sees her mother pointing to the group of ladies that just walked in. She knows that this is her cue and is supposed to approach them with her little tray of samples. Quickly grabbing her tray, Skylar fearlessly but primly stands in front of the ladies.
“Hi everybody!” She says bubbling up with cheer. “Welcome to Sky and Sparrows where we create magic from the garden. We have lavender for good luck, rosemary for confidence, and Rose Hibiscus for beauty. Each ingredient is from our garden and it’s magical!”
The customers can not help but be charmed by little Skylar and the same goes for Sparrow. Looking at her daughter, she is amazed how much like Marty she is. She is just as outgoing and bubbling with life as he was. She has his green eyes and light chestnut hair as opposed to Sparrow’s brown ones. She can not help but smile as her little girl shows off her salesmanship and can tell that Skylar just loves it. The five women, go into the store while a few other people walk in, greeted by Skylar.
A middle-aged woman walks up to her with a beeswax candle in the shape of a pillar and carved like leaves. “How much is this one miss?”
“That is $20.00” Sparrow answers the woman in a friendly manner. Soon she turns and looks over to her daughter. “Skylar. Come here sweetie.”
Skylar obediently trots over to her mother, puts her tray on the counter, and holds onto her mother’s waist while smiling up at the woman.
“Such a little sweetheart you have there.” She comments.
“Thank you!” Sparrow says holding her daughter closely and affectionately. “Life is pretty exciting with her in it.”
“I’ll say.” She says and then asks. “These candles. Do you carve them yourself?”
“I do.” Sparrow answers. “With a pair of scissors.” When the lady looks at her confused, Sparrow continues. “I find that it is easier to maneuver and make corners with scissors as opposed to a knife.”
“Ah!” The woman says satisfied with that answer.
After the woman leaves, Sparrow finds herself checking out another customer with her daughter close by. This stall is one of the busiest in the Farmer’s market and turning a lot of profit. With the occasional help from her aunt and her little girl. Sparrow is able to create something wonderful for all three of them just like she promised to her baby. She can see this business flourishing for years to come but at this precise moment, everything is still beginning. She can feel Marty smiling down on her right now.
Special Thanks To:
Alberta Natural Products: For a beautiful store and products found at the Avenida Food Hall and Fresh Market . 12445 Lake Fraser Dr SE D426, Calgary, AB T2J 7A4 https://www.albertanaturalproducts.com/
Beeland Market : For awesome Beeswax candles which is found at the Calgary Farmer's Market South. 510 77 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2H 1C3 http://www.calgaryfarmersmarket.ca/vendors/view/beeland-market
Friends and Gems : For a wonderful array of bar soaps. Crossroads Market. 1235 26 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 1R7. https://crossroadsmarket.ca/
Happy Hippo Bath Co: For pretty bath salts, sugars, and bombs made with fantastic imagination. 1235 26 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 1R7. https://www.happyhippobath.com/