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Plants vs. Animals: Who do you Identify with?

When I was elementary-school-aged, I remember a painful little incident involving tiny fairy statues. This was one of many little incidents of this type which played over and over in my childhood. They often happened because I had crippling introvert tendencies. This particular happening took place during a weekend family gathering.

I am one of three female cousins on that side of my family. I am the youngest, but the middle girl cousin is only about a year older than me, and our eldest cousin is about eight years older. The eldest cousin took the other two of us on a special girl-cousin trip. She drove us to a local special store (possibly a Hallmark store).

She was ready to check out the items she had come for, and she picked up two tiny fairy statuettes. Our eldest cousin bought these as well, and told us younger cousins they were for us. One had cute animals like a fawn and bunny. The other had flowers flanking it. Our eldest cousin told us that the one with animals was called Fauna and the one with plants, Flora.

As a child, I LOVED animals. I had grown up with a cat and a dog, and for a short time, a duck. I adopted a stray cat that had kittens, and was fascinated with birds, and with critters of all types. (Many children are.) Of course, I wanted the little fairy that had animals. But my slightly older cousin piped up first, declaring that she wanted it, and she got it.

Even though I received the cute and generous gift of the Flora figurine, I felt a little left out as I didn’t get my say, let alone my preference, in the matter.   

The really funny thing is, as an adult, I LOVE plants! I identify more with the Flora statue and that would be my first pick if this girl-cousin scene played out now, decades later. I still love animals, as you might guess from my Two True Karate Kids book. But as an adult, I gravitate more unhesitatingly toward plants. In general, I know more about plants now than I do about animals. It’s funny what a difference a few decades can make.

-Jenifer Tull-Gauger

Jenifer Tull-Gauger Kyoshi

Children's picture book author/illustrator. Traditional karate teacher and practitioner. Loves drawing and all kinds of art. Also into animals, plants and Mother Nature.

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