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Pete Symons

I bought a pair of child’s gardening gloves, a small shovel and a packet of beetroot seeds for my son.

I want to show him a miracle.

He’s a little boy, four years old. Three when his mother passed. He’s also slight but still with those fat cheeks toddlers have. I will care for him. Allow him to be surrounded by love in the absence of his mother.

And I will show him the gifts of the world. And so the miracle.

I had to take him to Bunnings. Didn’t have anyone to care for him. He looked at the gloves and spade without expression, but grabbed at the packet of seeds.

‘Beeboots,’ he said, tapping a finger on the photo on the front of the packet.

‘Yes,’ I say. ‘Beetroot. They’re seeds.’ How could I explain the concept of seeds?

‘They…they are very small things that will grow into beetroots. Beetroots that we can eat.’

My Joel loves beetroot. Up to now, they have always been from a can. But now he will taste food he grew himself.

Our backyard is small and, I’m embarrassed to say, badly kept. Joanna was the one who did the gardening. I managed to keep the grass down, but the vegetable patch is a collection of dying vegetables and herbs that have gone to seed. But I cleared a space for my boy to plant. The soil was dark and looked rich. Good for growing beetroot, I guessed.

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