Clever Arula: Epilogue

“Why are we eating cake for dinner, Mama?” Neva asks.

Darien chuckles, and I raise my gaze from my plate to see the love shining in his eyes, my fork hovering forgotten above my cake. I smile at my husband as Neva squirms with impatience, the pause of a few moments more than the five-year-old can bear.

Before I answer, Isla clarifies for her younger sister, “Because today is mama’s birthday and it’s tradition!” The eight-year-old pops a large bite of cake into her mouth and happily chews. She obediently swallows before asking, “Will you tell the story, Mama?”

“Of course,” Darien and I say in unison. “Because it is tradition,” Darien adds with a wink for our daughters.

I take a deep breath and lean forward in my seat for dramatic effect since this will be the first time Neva will hear the story. “It all began when I was nothing more than a farmer’s daughter,” I explain.

“A farmer?” Neva asks, confused, her delicate eyebrows drawn together in serious contemplation.

Isla shushes her. “Just wait, you will see,” she reassures her sister.

Neva and Isla watch me intently, their expressions rapt as I continue the story, so ingrained in me now that as I tell the tale my mind wanders and I ponder the perfection of this moment and so many others, marveling that I have an adoring husband who challenges my mind, raise two beautiful children who never cease to keep me engaged, and live the life of a leader who has the power to positively impact the lives of hundreds.

In the end, I still do not understand why the forces that be took my mother from me, but I have come to accept that the knowledge and blessing of wisdom she gifted me are enough. My mother realized my potential and believed in me long before I could do so for myself, and my heart is made light and courageous with the knowing.

I meet Darien’s radiant eyes and I know for certain that my life is exactly as it should be.

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