To Raise a Planet
“Isn’t this nice? Watching the children. They grow up so fast.”
She sighed dramatically as they sat on a crater rim of Callisto enjoying the crisp pinpoint of sunlight down the gravity well they’d spent eons shaping.
“Now, I don’t mean to be a snoop and a scold, Mother Earth, but I have noticed how your kids are treating you lately. Though it’s not my place, as your friend and neighbor, I feel badly for you.
“Look at how they take and take from you and don’t clean up after themselves. You’ve such a beautiful home and they’re trashing it. At least the youngest are. Digging everywhere and making toxic mud pies. What a mess they leave! The beautiful oceans you spent so much time creating; they’re just a toilet to your kids. It’s not decent and it’s not sanitary.”
She patted her dear friend’s hand and sighed again. “You must know they smoke. Like chimneys. Maybe they think it’s cool, but it’s disgusting. It must be heartbreaking. It’s so unhealthy for them and for you. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to breathe—and the smell.
“And it was one thing for them to play with fire, but fission. Where is that going to lead? I know they’re young and curious and creative, but they can be so mean to one another. And aggressive. I mean, look at how they fight at times.” She pointed across the vast stellar reach. “You don’t want to end up like Mother Venus. Can you imagine having an unending hot flash like that? Poor thing. She just couldn’t keep her kids in check.
“Now, me, my kids were a handful, too. I admit I spoiled them with a little too much easy water and air back in the day. They got out of hand, but I finally got the little monsters under control. Some criticized me for being too harsh. They said that type of discipline is because of my militaristic hubby. But sometimes you have to prune things way back to make them bloom again. In a few eons, my kids will thank me for the kick in the butt I gave them when they claw back out of the red dust I buried them in. Red is such a pretty color, don’t you think?
“Not that I don’t love your blues and greens, Mother Earth, but I think it can send the wrong message. Lush means plush to kids, and they really need to know how hard life was in the early days.” She put a hand to her heart. “We lost so many lovely creatures prematurely in those hard times. Children just don’t understand all the ‘dirt work’ we moms put into making our homes. So much time and energy. Your youngest kids fail to appreciate the eons and eons you spent toiling and prepping their garden world. It’s so sad.”
She brushed at a tear in her eye. “And one last thing. We are neighbors, and I do so enjoy our visits, but your kids have started to leave some of their little tin toys in my backyard. I know they get excited playing and visiting other homes in our neighborhood, but they should pick up after themselves. Imagine if the rest of our kids started leaving their junky toys for you to pick up?
“And, please, don’t think I’m talking about Mother Saturn when she got jealous about your successes and threw that big rock at you so long ago. She never appreciated the work you put into those early creatures. Such size and ferocious appetites. Her reaction was uncalled for. I know you were proud of those mammoth bundles of joy. It meant a lot starting over for you, but you did it.”
She reached out and put a hand on Mother Earth’s slumping shoulders. “So, that’s what I’m saying. Don’t be afraid to start over if your youngsters are wrecking things for everybody at home. Don’t let them give you lip and push you around. You’re the mom. We’re all moms. We deserve to be treated with respect. With reverence. Show them who’s boss. Push back. Let them sink or swim. That’s what your beautiful oceans are for.
“No need to thank me. We mother’s have to stick together and believe in tough love because, sometimes, it takes a villain to raise a planet.”