One day, Ayla and her Grandmother passed by a charity store, and their eyes fell onto a French porcelain doll with curly, strawberry blonde locks, perched up against the window. Grandmother’s eyes filled with sorrowful tears.

“She resembles a doll, I once had,” she said while staring with the admiration of a seven-year-old.

Grandmother’s clutched onto her knitted scarf, as haunting memories from her past crossed her mind.

“Berry, berry…berry,” she muttered beneath her tired breath. The name of her doll. It was destroyed during an airstrike in her war-torn homeland, the last heirloom from her late Mother. She often contemplated her many losses.

Overcome by Grandmother’s grief, Ayla wrapped her little arms around her and said, “When I collect enough money, I’ll buy you THAT porcelain doll Grandmother.”

“Oh, my dear. If God wills, you can do anything,” Grandmother nodded and replied with a smile.

A family of little means, they were. Ayla counted her savings, the empty piggy bank and little clanking of coins wasn’t enough. She decided to bake and sell some cupcakes to collect enough money to purchase the doll.

One morning, Grandmother woke from her slumber and in her arms, sat the dear French porcelain doll. Childlike tears fell from her eyes, as the ticking of the clock fell silent. The glass eyes of the strawberry-haired doll, housed many memories of her late mother’s captivating face, the smell of home, the taste of traditional dishes and the sound of frightening airstrikes. All the good and bad memories of her childhood came gushing forth.

Ayla watched from behind her Grandmother’s bedroom door before she entered.

“Ayla, how did you..?” asked Grandmother.

“Elders find peace and comfort in the seeds of their youth,” replied Ayla as she leaned in to hug Grandmother.

“Seeds once discarded in between the remnants of war but now, you can bloom and make new memories with a familiar friend,” said Ayla.

“I already have a new best friend and she is more valuable than this porcelain doll,” said Grandmother with a wink.

Grandmother’s bittersweet memories of the past were washed away by HOPE for a better future.