The Rose Garden by
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Prompted By The Garden

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Five years ago, my then twelve-year-old granddaughter Daniella, who has a learning disability that makes conversation challenging for her, developed a passion for photography. Before that, it had been art. But in the summer of 2015, there was nothing she liked better than to go to the local Rose Garden to photograph the flowers. While I have never been much of a gardener, I treasure the memory of the time we spent together in this little garden where she used my iPhone to take countless pictures.

I still have her pictures somewhere on my phone, but more importantly, I have the memory of sharing those wonderful summer days in the Rose Garden.

Daniella was fascinated by light and shadow and many of the photos she took in the Rose Garden captured her own shadow or shadows at play on the benches.


She also loved the small fountain and taking pictures of the water as it flowed. While the roses were pretty, they were probably the least exciting aspect of the garden for her. She did attempt close-up photos of flowers, but most of the time, she favored the larger landscape that featured trees, and sky, and even a church steeple in the distance.


We printed out her favorite photos and put them in a scrapbook, which I’m sure was consigned to the trash long ago. But that’s not what really matters, of course. Rather, it was the time we shared together as she pursued her passion at that moment. Once she had her own phone, I foolishly assumed she would continue taking beautiful pictures for many years. Instead, she discovered apps and music, which replaced photography as her new obsession.

I still have her pictures somewhere on my phone, but more importantly, I have the memory of sharing those wonderful summer days in the Rose Garden and finding a way to communicate that didn’t require her to work so hard to find the words. Her pictures spoke for her.

One of my favorite selfies of the photographer

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Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. What a beautiful story of your special granddaughter.
    I have an autistic nephew but, he lives afar and I see him too seldom, to form a relationship, a great regret. ❤️

  2. Marian says:

    With luck, Laurie, in a year you’ll be able to hug Daniella again. It was wonderful to see those photos and what you shared, and how there are many ways to communicate love and caring.

  3. Suzy says:

    Laurie, this is a great story as only you can write! I love Daniella’s pictures, and the thought of you spending that special time with her. You are the best grandmother ever!

  4. John Shutkin says:

    Just a beautiful story, Laurie. And, as others have so well noted, this is really about what they have meant both in terms of your relationship to your granddaughter and her own sense of accomplishment and communication. Brava!

    And, by the way, I also think her photos are great.

  5. Made memories in a garden are the best! I also love the idea of her passions being a bridge between you…and how hard it is to catch up with the latest obsessions of growing beings! Thanks for this!

  6. Such a sweet story, Laurie…thank goodness for photos to help keep our special memories in focus.

    I’m with you…love that selfie!

  7. Betsy Pfau says:

    Such a lovely story, Laurie. Special time with a special child, gifted in her own way. The photos are beautiful, though she may have moved on, you still have them and remind you of that treasured time together and that is important. We long for that. Some people don’t understand why I always mark occasions with a photo, but I, too, love to look back and be able to see special times with special people. What you have are true treasures.

  8. Beautiful portrait of your granddaughter, Daniella, through her photos. Who knows? She may revisit her attraction at some point.

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