I'm not sure what the father says at the end is really what the story needs... anyone have any better ideas?
Once upon a time seems like a silly way to start a story but I really have no idea when this took place. So, in this case it will just have to do.
Once upon a time, in this very city, lived Maria. Maria wasn’t any ordinary girl. She was of the rarest kind. Her mother would smile at her and say “You’re my perfect little angel from on high. Oh how the good Lord blessed us the day you came.” Her father would cough a little and say, “You are everything we ever wanted. You’re the perfect child.” The cook would hand her a sweet meat and say, “Now there’s a dear. You always do do what’s wanted now don’t you? I’ve never seen a more perfect child.”
Maria believed them and always did whatever she was asked and never sassed and everyone always loved her.
Soon it was time for Maria to start school. The day before she sat next to cook the kitchen and listened to great stories of the fun she’d have. Then cook gasped, “Well now! If I haven’t forgot the eggs! Maria, do be a dear and run down to Mrs. Hanson’s and get me three eggs.” Maria nodded quickly and slid off her stool. As she slipped out the door she heard the cook say, “If she isn’t the most perfect child!”
As Maria walked she thought to herself. “What if she wasn’t the most perfect child? What would happen if one day she woke up and she wasn’t perfect anymore? Would cook still give her sweet meats and tell her pretty stories? Would the people still smile at her when they passed? Would her parents still love her? Poor Maria’s eye brown furrowed with these sad thoughts. Oh she was lucky to be so perfect. She thought of how much everyone loved her. She had heard a woman yelled at a little boy for being clumsy once before. She did feel grateful that no one ever yelled at her that way. And all because she was a perfect little angel.
When she got to Mrs. Hanson’s house she knocked and stepped in. Mrs. Hanson seemed a little cross but she quickly put three large brown eggs in a small basket for Maria to take home. “Good day Mrs. Hanson.” Called Maria as she walked out and turned to see if Mrs. Hanson would smile at her. Suddenly before she knew it, Maria had tripped over the door seal and was laying flat on top of the basket. Scrabbling up, Maria opened the lid of the basket. There she saw all three eggs splattered all over the inside of the basket.
“What have you done child!” screeched Mrs. Hanson from behind her. “If you’re not the clumsiest thing I’ve ever seen!” Scooping Maria up she continued to yell as she dusted her off. “Anna ought to know better than to send such a careless child to get the eggs. I guess I’ll have to give you three more. You weren’t out the door when you broke them. She’ll say it was my fault, but really, what a vain clumsy girl you are.” Maria felt tears welling up into her eyes. Mrs. Hanson roughly handed her another basket and pushed her out the door, not bothering to notice how close to tears the small girl was.
‘Clumsy?’ thought Maria ass she walked home. ‘Vain…’ no one had ever called her that before. She could feel tears welling up into her eyes. What would her parents say if they knew? IF they found out she wasn’t perfect. Mrs. Hanson was the only one who knew and look at how angry she had gotten. One little tear rolled down her chubby cheek. She daintily wiped it away and decided then and there she would never let anyone know.
“OH you’re back dear!” exclaimed cook as Maria walked in. “What a big helped you are. Thank you so much. Here’s a chocolate sweet to hold you over till dinner.” Maria took the chocolate, smiling her thanks, and went to her room. She was afraid to talk for fear she’d say something that wasn’t perfect.
The next day, mother took Maria to school. “You’re so quiet today.” She said looking at her daughter worriedly. “Are you afraid of school?”
Maria thought ‘Being afraid isn’t something that perfect children do.’ So she shook her head and smiled. “I’m excited to go to school!” she said, but inside she was very scarred. What if her teacher or one of the other children figured out she wasn’t perfect? Then they wouldn’t like her and worst of all they’d tell her parents. Maria knew she couldn’t bare that.
So, after mother left her inside the classroom, Maria found a quiet desk and sat down with her hands folded in her lap. Soon a little boy came up and asked what she was doing. “I’m waiting for what the teacher wants me to do.” She said nodding politely.
The little boy looked at her and then began to laugh. “You’re a funny girl!” he said bending over with laughter.
Maria felt quite distrot. Why was he laughing? Wasn’t that what she was supposed to do? The teacher was still greeting children as they arrived and Maria knew you should never interrupt adults when they are busy. So, Maria looked at the little boy and asked, “What am I supposed to be doing?”
He gave her a big smile, winking with his right eye, “You gotta have fun. It’s playtime! Here try this toy. It’s a doll, I don’t like it much but my sister loves them.” Maria had no idea how this little boy wanted her to play with the doll. She was afraid that if she didn’t do it right he would laugh again and the teacher would come over and see that she was not perfect. So, Maria turned her back so the little boy couldn’t see her playing with it. Soon the teacher came up and started the class.
That’s how the whole day went. Maria never raised her hand or said anything if she could help it. And the little boy would lean over every now and again to tell her what to do.
Maria was glad when her mother picked her up from school. She nodded happily when her mother asked if she had had fun, but when they got home Maria went up to her room and cried.
A knock came at the door. Maria rubbed all the wetness from her face. The doorknob turned in walked her father. Sitting up straight on the end of her bed Maria smiled as big as she could. “Hi sweetie.” He said sitting down beside her on the bed. “How was your first day at school?”
“Oh it was wonderful!” said Maria.
Reaching over father picked up Maria and put her in his lap. “Do you know why I love you so much Maria?” he asked hugging her tightly.
Maria felt a little lump in her throat and felt like she was going to cry. “Because I’m so perfect.” She responded finally.
“Oh yes!,” her father said. “You’re perfect for our family. You know that’s why it’s ok not to be perfect everywhere, or even to do everything perfectly, because you are who you are and that’s perfectly what we want you to be.”
“But what if I’m not perfect at all Daddy?”
“But you are perfectly you sweet heart. And don’t let anyone else tell you other wise.” Maria nodded and thought of Mrs. Hanson and the little boy. “Because you see honey,” her father continued stroking her hair just the way Maria loved it. “Nobody else knows what perfect is. So they really can’t judge now can they?” Maria shook her head. “You my sweet Maria are perfect for our family because you make our family complete. And we love you very much. No matter what happens.”
“Even if I’m clumsy and funny?” Maria asked her eyes growing big.
“Especially when you’re clumsy and funny!” Her father laughed. “Because that means you’re growing and learning and that makes us very happy.”
Maria laughed to and twisting around in her father’s lap she gave him the biggest hug a child her size could.