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She was now one of the wonders of the modern world. Michelle towered over the Burj Khalifa, Mount Everest and soon enough she could be seen from the horizons around her."

Michelle Michaelson was born, in all respects, a very small baby. Her low birth weight had both the doctors and her parent’s worried that she may not make it through her first weeks. Yet against the odds, she grew into a healthy toddler. By the time she had reached primary school, at about age four or five, Michelle had become fascinated with ants. At this point, Michelle was still very small, due to her low birth weight her natural growth had kept her at a size smaller than most her age. This was one of the reasons she loved ants so much.

One Tuesday night after school, Michelle’s father was exceptionally late to pick her up. She sat and sat and waited for him but his car did not arrive. She was getting hungry so she reached for half the sandwich she had leftover from lunch and started to munch on it. It was at the moment that she gazed down at her shoes and saw an ant, small and black, carrying a crumb from her sandwich that seemed to be three times its size! Her dad arrived a few minutes later, apologising that his meeting ran late.

When Michelle turned 13, her father bought her an ant farm. Michelle had already owned many ant farms but this one, as her father knew, was the biggest, newest ant farm a father could buy for his beloved daughter with only so much money. Michelle took the ant farm to her room and set it up, with her Dad’s help of course. That night two things happened; Michelle went to sleep with a thousand friends across the room, and when she woke up, she had had her first menstruation.

“This is probably one best suited for your mother,” Michelle’s dad deflected. “Why don’t we give her a call and tell her what happened.”

“Okay Dad,” Michelle replied “which country is she in at the moment? I don’t want to ring if she’s asleep”

“I think she’s in Ireland at the moment”

“Okay, I’ll try the phone,” Michelle said reluctantly.

Her relationship with her mother had never quite been as strong as with her father. Michelle thinks it’s due to the circumstances surrounding her birth, the shock she gave when she almost didn’t make it through her first weeks. Perhaps her mother feels that fear every time she looks at her daughter, still small and frail....

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