Betty Owl lived in the old oak tree in the woods with her Mummy and Daddy. Betty loved her family very much.
She went to nursery at the lagoon, and Mrs Duck was her teacher. Betty’s best friend was Sam Sparrow. Betty and Sam loved making sand castles, and painting pictures.
One night, after dinner, Mummy and Daddy owl looked sad.
‘We have something to tell you, Betty.’ Said Daddy. ‘Mummy is poorly. The doctors are helping her to get better, but for a while she won’t be able to do very much.’
‘Oh no!’ cried Betty, and gave her Mummy a big cuddle.
‘Sometimes I won’t be able to cook dinner, or play with you.’ Explained Mummy. ‘And some of my feathers on my head will fall out.’
Betty didn’t know what to say. She loved Mummy’s bright green feathers.
‘It will be hard for a while, but Mummy will get better.’
‘Is there anything that you would like to ask?’ Said Mummy.
‘What is wrong with Mummy? Does she have the flu?’ Asked Betty.
‘No darling, she has something called cancer.’ Daddy explained.
‘Oh. Will Mummy go to hospital?’ Worried Betty.
‘Sometimes. But mostly Mummy will stay at home, resting.’ Answered Daddy.
‘Ok,’ said Betty, ‘can I have some ice-cream now please?’
‘Of course!’ laughed Daddy. He went to the kitchen to fetch her some of her favourite ice-cream: mint choc-chip.
Betty loves ice-cream.
The next day at nursery, Betty and Sam were making a sandcastle. Betty told Sam that her Mummy was ill with cancer.
‘What’s cancer?’ Asked Sam, adding some shells to their creation.
‘Well, Daddy said we are all made of tiny things called cells. Some of Mummy’s cells have turned bad and are hurting her. So the doctors are going to give her some special medicine to make her better.’ Said Betty.
‘Like cough medicine?’ Wondered Sam.
‘Um, not really. Mummy will have to go to hospital for it. But then she will come home. Me and Daddy will have to look after her really well.’ Said Betty. She put some coloured stones onto the castle to make it even prettier.
‘Will your Daddy have to cook your dinner too?’ Asked Sam.
‘Yes, I think he will. Oh dear.’ Sighed Betty.
Sam put down her shells and gave Betty a big cuddle.
Mrs Duck came over to look at the friends’ sandcastle.
‘That’s beautiful, well done girls.’ She smiled. ‘How many red stones have you used so far, Betty?’
Betty carefully counted the red stones.
‘One… two… three!’ Exclaimed Betty.
‘That’s right,’ replied Mrs Duck.
A couple of weeks later, Betty noticed that Mummy’s feathers were starting to fall out. She found one on the sofa after Mummy had been sitting on it.
Betty picked up the green feather and put it in the special box in her bedroom. The special box was for treasures. In it was a shiny stone; a shell that Betty and Daddy had found on the beach last Summer; a big coin and a small chocolate bar (for emergencies). Betty put the feather on top and closed the box and put it back in the drawer in her desk.
Betty was sad that Mummy was losing her feathers, but she still thought that she was beautiful.
One day, Betty walked home from nursery with Sam and her Mummy. When Betty got inside, she saw that Mummy was lying on the sofa. She looked poorly.
‘Are you ok Mummy?’ She asked.
Mummy opened her eyes and smiled.
‘I’m a bit tired darling. I just need to rest.’ Said Mummy.
‘Ok. Is Daddy making dinner?’ Wondered Betty.
‘That’s right,’ said Mummy, ‘Why don’t you go and ask him what he’s cooking?’ Said Mummy, closing her eyes.
Betty went to see.
‘It’s wiggly worms.’ Said Daddy.
‘Yay! My favourite!’ Laughed Betty.
She loved Wiggly worms.
But when they sat down to eat, the wiggly worms just weren’t right. Daddy didn’t know how to cook them like Mummy did. Betty ate them all, but she felt a bit sad. She preferred Mummy’s cooking.
One day, Mummy was very ill and had to stay in hospital.
‘Is Mummy going to be ok?’ Asked Betty as Daddy tucked her up in bed that night.
‘Yes. She just needs a bit more help from the doctors and nurses at the hospital. Would you like to visit her after nursery tomorrow?’ Dad asked.
‘Yes please.’ Said Betty.
‘Good, it’s a plan.’
Daddy kissed her good night and switched off the light.
Betty started to cry a little bit. She didn’t make a noise, but the tears rolled down her face. She missed her Mummy. Betty could see the moon through the curtains. It was very bright. She thought of Mummy in her hospital bed. looking at the moon too. Finally Betty fell asleep.
The next day after nursery, Daddy took Betty to see Mummy in hospital. It was very clean and the nurses were kind. Mummy was sitting up in bed and reading a book when they came in. Betty ran to give Mummy a hug – but she couldn’t quite reach as the bed was high up. Daddy helped Betty to carefully sit on the bed.
‘Hello darling,’ smiled Mummy, ‘How are you?’
‘Good. We went on a trip to the library today. I got two books out – one about a singing cat and another one with lots of big numbers that can talk!’
‘Wow, that sounds exciting. Maybe you can read them to me when I get home?’ Asked Mummy.
‘Oh yes please.’ Said Betty.
The doctor came to check on Mummy.
‘When will she be able to come home?’ Asked Daddy.
‘Hopefully tomorrow.’ Said the doctor.
‘Yay!’ Said Betty, bouncing up and down on the bed.
‘Careful! Remember that Mummy isn’t very well.’ Warned Daddy.
‘Sorry Mummy.’ Said Betty sadly.
‘That’s ok.’ Said Mummy.
It took a long time for Mummy to get better, but eventually she did. When Betty graduated from nursery, Mrs Duck held a special awards ceremony for the class. Mummy was well enough to go. Everyone got to wear a graduation cap that they had made the day before, out of cardboard. Mrs Duck gave out awards to all of the children. Sam got the ‘funny’ award, that she was very happy with.
‘And now,’ said Mrs Duck, ‘the bravery award. This is given to the pupil that has done their best even though they have had a difficult year. She has stayed friendly and helpful, even when she was feeling sad about her Mum, who has been poorly. The bravery award goes to Betty!’
Everyone in the room clapped loudly as Betty stood up to collect her certificate and a trophy. She was very proud of herself. She saw Mummy in the front row, sitting next to Daddy, with a big smile on her face.
Mummy’s feathers started to grow back, but they were a different colour! They used to be green, but now they were blue on her head. Betty found that quite funny. Betty, Mummy and Daddy had a lovely holiday to the beach that Summer.
Betty sat on the sand, eating a mint-choc chip ice-cream cone. Daddy was building a huge sandcastle and Mummy was reading a book. Betty felt the sun on her face and felt very happy.