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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis

Bobby bear lay in his bed. His mama and papa lay in the other side of the cave. Papa snored and Mama lay silent. Bobby knew spring was coming soon and they could leave the cave and go into the woods. He closed his eyes and went back to sleep.

When he woke up again, his Mama stood at the cave door. “Bobby, we're going out today. It's spring. There are flowers and trees with leaves and green grass. Papa is coming with us. We're going for a family walk.”

“What's a family, Mama?” Bobby took her hand.

“There's a mama and a papa and a baby. That's a family.” Mama kissed her son.

Papa took her hand and the three of them went outside.

“It smells pretty out here, Mama. I smell flowers.” Bobby ran over to a rose bush. “This flower smells sweet, Papa. It's pink.”

Bobby stopped and smelled every flower as they walked through the meadow. He saw a group of raccoons. “Look, Mama. There's a mama raccoon and her babies. That's not a family though, is it. There's no papa there.”

Mama looked at Papa and then bent over to talk to Bobby. “Not all families have papas, Bobby. Some just have mamas and no papas and some have papas and no mamas. They're still a family, but not like ours.”

Bobby didn't understand. “What about the mice? There's a mama and lots of baby mice, but no papa. Is that a family?”

“Yes, it is,” Mama said.

“Where's the papa?”

“Some papas don't stay around. They go off and do things on their own,” Papa said. “You're lucky because your papa stays around to be with you.” Papa picked up Bobby and put him on his shoulders.

Bobby saw a group of foxes. “There's a mama and papa fox and babies. That's a family.”

“Yes, it is. When there is a group, that's a family. Sometimes there's only one baby and one mama. That's still a family,” Mama said.

Twenty bunnies came hopping past. Bobby saw the mama and the papa. He saw a squirrel. It was all alone and it was small. “Mama, that squirrel doesn't have a mama or a papa. Is it a family still?”

“Yes. Some animals live all by themselves. That is still a family.” Mama sighed. “Let's go back to the cave. We've had enough for one day.”

That night when Mama tucked Bobby in his bed, he said to her, “Mama, I think I know what a family is. A family is wherever there is love.”

Mama wiped a tear from her eye. “That's right. Now you understand.” She kissed Bobby goodnight and went to be with Papa. They held hands watching the stars shoot across the sky.

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