Dandelions

(He is young, so full of hope; reveling in tiny dreams. Filling up his arms with flowers right for giving any queen.)

Today Maggie and I went raspberry-picking. The field near our house has fantastic plants, but in the manner of all English land the ground cover sometimes tends to thistle and nettles with sharp, poky leaves. If you dress properly you’re fine; if you’re dressed in shorts and sandals for a warm summer day you’re going to have your legs and feet clawed up.

 (Running to her beaming bright while cradling his prize; a flickering of yellow light within his mother’s eyes.)

Raspberry-picking is nice when you’ve blown past the halfway point of pregnancy. Less bending since the plants are so tall and anything close to the ground is going to be spotted and picked by your wee assistant (whether or not the berry makes it to the basket is a hit-or-miss proposition).

(She holds them to her heart, keeping them where they’ll be safe. Clasped within her very marrow: dandelions in a vase.)

But those plants! Oh, how sharp they are around your toes. But if you’re willing to reach in, if you’re willing to navigate patiently, if you don’t mind getting poked a little bit, if you don’t mind getting a little scratched and bloody…the fruit is worth it. Plump, perfect, sunshine on a vine.

(She sees love where anyone else would see weeds.)

Today Maggie gave me a dandelion that she picked from under a bush. It was crawling with bugs but she couldn’t wait to share it–jamming it up my nose so I could “Smell the pretty flower! Smell!” I did.

(Where do I fit in this puzzle? What good are these gifts?)

She carried it around with her until it became hopelessly tattered, in the way that things handled by toddlers so often are, and then she gave it to me for safekeeping.

(All that I have ever wanted was to give my best to you.)

We finished picking (or rather, I finished picking and Maggie finished snacking) and we walked back. She told me the story of the Velveteen Rabbit from memory and how the rabbit played with his Boy while pointing out the raspberry canes in the field. If she hadn’t told me, I could have told her; it was one of my favorites as a little girl too.

(Lord, search my heart. Create in me something clean.)

After we got home I put her dandelion on our summer nature table and went about the business of mid-day: helping small hands wash off dirt, assembling some kind of a lunch, changing a diaper and reading a story before nap time. I sat down after putting Maggie down for her rest and listened to Five Iron Frenzy’s “Dandelions” a few times. It’s always been a favorite; never more than now, now that I have a child. And Maggie? At the end of the day after everything else, she is my something clean. She is a beautiful creation unto herself.

(Dandelions…you see flowers in these weeds.)

Whatever road we travel with her, everything is going to be fine.

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