The Angel's Mother

by Florence Katz

The tea kettle whistled softly at first, then blared like a warning. Her puppy barked and stared at her sadly. Usually it was mom who would take care of it. But not today, not ever again.

Things just did not feel the same anymore. The little girl knelt by her bed, but her stomach hurt from the painful thoughts. Prayers do not come easily anymore. But she tried to comfort herself by picturing her mother's face. And as she remembered, she began to sob. "Oh, God, why have you taken my mother away. I feel so lonely now."

And God heard her. He decided to send the angel Mariel to comfort and guide her.

And the angel Mariel saw the little girl and immediately loved her. She made a promise to God that she would care for the child forever.

But, Mariel, seeing this little girl's plight, began to wonder. "God," she asked, "why do I not have a mother? I feel very badly for this child who lost her mother, but she, at least, had one for awhile. I have never had a mother."

"I will give you a mother," said God. "But there is something you are forgetting and should try to remember." He gave Mariel the most beautiful mother of all. And Mariel's mother watched over her. And Mariel watched over the little girl.

But what is it that I am forgetting, wondered Mariel. Oh well, she thought, it'll come to me in time. And time went by. The little girl started getting better and feeling less lonely with the angel to guide her.

Then, one day, for no reason at all, she suddenly became very sad again, and Mariel had to spend the entire day comforting her. When she came home, Mariel's mother said, "come and hug me, my darling child. You're all I have and I haven't seen you the entire day. I need comforting." But Mariel was too tired for that. She just wanted to go to bed. And she did. This made Mariel's mother very sad, for what is a child for if not to comfort her mother when she is lonely.

The next few days were even worse. Mariel comforted the child day and night. She became very tired and the mother saw this. She offered to take over for Mariel. "Let me go and comfort the child for you today," she said. But Mariel wouldn't have it. "This is the job that was given to me by God, one that I promised to do. Thank you, but I cannot accept." And the mother was sad, for that was her job, to take care of Mariel. But how could she make her break her promise to God? 'Alright," said the mother, "but tonight you shall go to bed early." Mariel was too tired to argue so she agreed.

But, while sleeping, Mariel could hear the child whimpering and so she left her bed to care for the child.

When she returned, her mother was angry. "How can I trust you," she asked, "when you leave your bed in the middle of the night while I'm asleep. I was very worried. How can I take care of you like a mother should, if you won't let me?" And Mariel remembered what she had forgotten. She promised to let her mother know, next time, before she leaves the house. And, whenever she could, she let her mother take care of her.

Years passed. The little girl grew older and left home. The puppy grew older and passed away. The angel's mother grew old and feeble. But Mariel remained the same. "Mariel," the mother asked, "when will you get older?" When will you grow up and leave home so I can rest and stop worrying?" But angels don't grow old, and Mariel realized how important this thing was that she'd forgotten. What a mistake she'd made!

Again, she spoke to God. And God agreed. He laid the mother to rest, finally, and the mother welcomed it. "Do you remember, now, the thing you forgot?" He asked Mariel.

"Yes," said Mariel, "I remember and will always remember. God, forgive me. You are the one who knows what I need, and you are the one who will provide. If I had needed a mother, you would have given me one in the first place."

"You understand well," He said.

"But I feel sad, now, God. Because now the little girl has grown and gone and my mother has been laid to rest. Now I have no one to care for and that's what angels do."

And God set before her a very small puppy (he has wings), whom she cared for for the rest of eternity.