Dandelions are for all intents and purposes a very cumbersome, interfering, annoying weed. They grow uncontrollably, spread like a wildfire during a drought and pop up strong and healthy in places most normal plants couldn’t dream of surviving in. Growing up, my parents’ lawn was always a battleground. Good vs. Evil. Man vs. Nature. Us vs. the dandelions. It was nothing a little weed-n-feed couldn’t handle, but there always seemed to be one or two that got away. Sneaky. Stealthy. Surviving against all odds.
While, just a few short years ago, I could be seen by my neighbours with my Fiskars Weed Puller-thingy yanking dandelions out of my front lawn without mercy (and often muttering at the weeds like an escaped psych patient), I strangely find myself singing a different tune lately.
See, I often find myself reflecting on the various stages my life has been through and, as most parents probably do, I lump my life into “pre” and “post” kids. The “pre-kids” Shaunna was a very different person than the one I know today and this morning as I watched Miss J picking dandelions this “evolution-of-me” became very apparent.
My family is currently vacationing in gorgeous Prince Edward Island and the field in front of my in-laws’ house is a solid sea of yellow. It is ripe with dandelions in the prime of their first spring bloom. This morning, I saw firsthand the awe in Miss J’s eyes as she beheld these “magnificent flowers” (weren’t they “weeds” just a minute ago?) that as if by some fairy magic (that I’m certain she believes in!) just pop up all over the place so she can pick to her hearts content. She LOVES dandelions. She reminded me this morning that there was a time when I, too, LOVED dandelions (I recall they made playing left field in t-ball much more interesting!).
Miss J decided to pick a bouquet for her Grammie and as she waded through the sea of yellow, I could see her furrowed brow and she looked for the perfect collection. She bypassed hundreds of dandelions and after a solid 15 minutes, emerged with a perfect bunch of dandelions ready to be trimmed and set in a glass of water. I watched her very carefully as she scrutinized the many blossoms and wondered what she could possibly be looking for in her “perfect flowers” and found myself shaking my head and laughing at the fact that they’re “just weeds”.
Then I caught myself.
Weeds? Why are they weeds? These plants have flowers of the most brilliant yellow with dozens of soft, fluffy petals and EDIBLE greens. And they bring such happiness to my 3 year old – and consequently myself, my hubby and anyone else she picks them for. Talk about your money’s worth in a flower! And best of all, they are just THERE for the taking! These little plants don’t cost a thing and give SO much to us. My mind reeled at this realization. It’s almost as if God Himself, by allowing dandelions to spread so fiercely, is screaming at us to just NOTICE these amazing little plants for what they truly are! Is it only through the eyes of a child that we notice their true beauty?
When did I become so cynical and determined to best nature? As if I could actually rid my lawn completely of weeds EVER?! Even if I did, give it a day or two and more would pop up. Why on earth would I choose to spend my time pulling dandelions?
Once Miss J’s little bouquet was placed on Grammie’s window sill, I snapped a few pics. Even on this drizzly day, they seemed to glow.
I often sing “You Are My Sunshine” to Mr. B as I nurse him to sleep and I found myself humming it as I snapped these pics. My perspective on the topic of dandelions is forever changed. I think I’ll be retiring the weed-puller-thingy when we get home. Instead I will welcome these little sunny spots into my lawn and life and watch as they light up my childrens’ eyes and my window sills. When I look at dandelions from now on, I’ll choose to see their resilience. They have a GOOD message to share with us – one that reminds us about how short childhood is and how beauty is found in the little things.
Consequently, I’m starting to think the “post-kids” Shaunna is shaping up to be a pretty cool person in large part thanks to the lessons taught to her by the very kids that started this chapter.
This post was written on May 18th, while I was away – I had to wait until we returned home to load the pictures into the post! Thanks!!