"Mommy, I have some beautiful flowers for you!"
I looked up from what I was doing, and saw the expectant face of my 4 year old. I could see the joy, the happiness, and the delight in her upturned little face. In her hands she held a wilted mess of yellow flowers, with some little violets she had found thrown in the mix. She shyly played with her hair by her ear as she waited for my reaction. I could sense that she wanted me to be as excited about the flowers as she was. So, not missing a beat, I took them with a big smile. "Why, thank you, these are so beautiful! Thank you so much for getting them for me!"
"I will get you a vase, Mama!" she said as she scampered off excitedly.
As I waited for her to get the "vase", I stood looking at the flowers in my hands. In reality, they were weeds, but to her, they were beautiful, exquisite flowers. My mind flashed back to previous years, when my older children, who were now teens, had brought me weeds as well.
With my boys, it was dirt smeared, mischievous upturned faces that awaited my delight. Dirty hands would clasp the smashed flowers, and they would say, "Here ya go!" without ceremony before they would scurry off to the next adventure. With my girls, they were a little less dirty- but not much. They usually took a little more care to not "smoosh" the flowers. They also made sure that I was very careful with them, after all, they had taken a long time to pick them for me! I always made a big deal about them, and I always put them in a cup of water. The next day, the weeds would be dead and wilted, and I would quietly discard them, but for one day at least, they held a prominent place on the table or my dresser!
I wondered how long it had been since my little boys- now turning into strapping men- had brought me dandelions. How had the time flown so quickly? Wasn't I just in the midst of back to back diapers, snotty noses, teething, and potty training? When I was in that stage of life, it seemed like it would never end. I lived in a fog most of the time, running on a few hours of sleep and lots of coffee. When I had three children three and under, I barely functioned. I would pray for strength throughout the entire day- it seemed like all I did was discipline, train, wipe snotty noses, cook, clean, and repeat.
Those "dandelion days" were long, but oh, how they flew by!
Now my two oldest boys are 16 and 15. My oldest daughter is 13. And my three youngest daughters are 10, 8, and 4. I can't remember the last time that my boys brought me dandelions. I felt a twinge of sadness. Will I ever know when the last time will be that my child brings me weeds, thinking they are beautiful? Are my dandelion days coming to an end?
I want more children, and I am praying God blesses me with more, but I don't know if he will. And if I only have the six that he has given me, then my dandelion days might be short indeed. And that makes me sad. Even though dandelion days are long and hard, they are also sweet and precious.
So, Mamas, enjoy your dandelion days. Embrace the chaos, the loudness, the craziness, the dirt, grime, and the weeds. You don't know how long it will last. I don't know when the point is that a child realizes dandelions are weeds, and that maybe they aren't so beautiful, so Mama doesn't need any. I know I am never the one to point out that fact! I have grown to love the tenacious yellow weeds. When I see them sitting in a vase, (I say "vase" loosely, for it is usually a cup) in my house, it means that I had a little person loving me. I had someone who saw the yellow weeds and thought, "My Mama would love these, so I am going to pick them for her!"
I have had 16 years of dandelion days. I know someday they will end, but for now I am going to cherish them.
Hug your little ones, today, Mama, for time with them is fleeting. Kiss their chubby cheeks, and hold them closely. My, how time flies.
I have loved every one of my dandelion days with my children, and I will mourn when they come to an end.
But that day is not today, so if you'll excuse me, I have some water to put into a "vase", for the dandelions are blooming, and I have a child who has thought of her Mama once again.