Here Grandma…I picked you some flowers.
It’s the voice of my five year old grandson as he comes running in from playing outside. I look up from my computer knowing full well that the flowers will be bright yellow with pointy pedals. The stems will be gangly and long with very few leaves. The stems will either be picked too short, or so long that they are broken from being held too tight. Do you love them, Grandma? Yes, I do. Just as I loved them when your mother was little and your Uncle before her. And just as I love you for bringing them to me.
As I place the flowers in a vase, I am taken back to so many other dandelions that have sat on my windowsill over the past thirty years that I have been a mother. I feel so blessed by the “flowers” that my children have so graciously shared with me.
• Rocks, of all shapes and sizes and colors that spill out of pockets into the washer and sit in “treasure boxes” under the bed.
• Bugs, also of every shape, size and color that unfortunately also find their way into boxes under the bed. Hopefully they are found in time to be released into their natural homes…alive.
• Scraped knees and bruised elbows that only a mother’s love can fix.
• Books that are carried by little hands attached to eager ears waiting to hear each story as if it was the first time they heard it… not the 100th. Please read to me mom (Grandma)!
• Colorful art and crafts that show outlined hand prints and people with odd proportioned body parts. My son liked to draw in the zipper on the pants of his “man people” which made for some interesting raised eye brows by those who did not know what it was supposed to be. And my grandson proudly adds the belly-button to all his people he draws. Interesting!
• Their hands reaching up to yours as you cross the street. Warm and sticky from whatever they’ve been doing, but oh, so precious.
Then as they get older what your children bring you is different. More insightful and sometimes harder to handle than scraped knees. Can Mom’s kisses make it all better anymore?
• Secrets and stories of their life at school with their friends. They don’t have to tell me anything, but it is such a blessing when they share and allow me into their world for just a moment. And even more precious when they ask “what should I do Mom?”
• Report cards and school assignments successfully completed with various “letter” grades across the top. It really doesn’t matter what the “letter” is as long as you tried your best and completed it on time.
• Teenage righteous indignation! Sometimes life just isn’t fair and not everyone is nice. But always stand up for those oppressed and be true to who you were raised to be. Don’t give in your morals just because “everyone is doing it.”
• Broken hearts and tear stained pillows. Because you have to kiss quite a few frogs before you find the true prince (or princess) that truly deserves your heart.
• I have watched the disappointment on my son’s face as we determine that the college he desires and deserves more than anything, just isn’t going to happen. What could I do?
• I have held my crying daughter as she struggled with the emotions and hurt of a painful divorce. What could I do?
• I have cooked and cleaned and packed and moved and held my adult kids in my arms and in my heart as they journey forward through life. Just like we did at their age. We survived and so will they. But I have to just let it go. This feeling that it’s up to me to “fix it”. Sometimes it can’t be fixed, just shared and endured.
The dandelions will most likely be wilted and dead within a few days, but the daydreams and memories that they bring just sitting there on the window sill are held near and dear to my heart. This is such a wonderfully odd and sometimes difficult thing, this whole being a parent. And I wouldn’t trade it for all the money in the world! I can only hope and pray that I’m as good a Mom as my Mother.
Grandma, he calls!….I guess I need to find another vase.
Authors note: A few days after I finished writing this blog, I was walking by the window sill and noticed that the dandelions my grandson had picked were looking a bit “tired”. I quickly took them out of the vase and put them in the garbage hoping that my little guy wouldn’t notice. The next day while I was in my office working, he showed up at my side holding in his hand one of the “discarded” flowers. Grandma, he asks, “why did you throw away this beautiful flower?” They were dying, I replied. “But this one is still beautiful!” he said. “I’m going to put it in water. You shouldn’t throw them away while they are still beautiful!” Lesson learned!