It had to be the hottest day of 2014 to date and as I loaded my children in the van, I had one thing in mind - get in the air conditioned grocery store!
That's when Tyler caught my attention by saying, "Look, Mommy, this is for you!"
He said it sweetly, holding a dandelion in my direction. It must have been the 269th dandelion he gave me this year and at the moment, with sweat threatening to trickle down my back and with the house all locked up, I didn't want a dandelion.
"Oh, thank you!" I said, hoping he'd leave it at that.
He didn't. "Where should I put it for you?"
"I'm not sure. The house is all locked up. Why don't you just lay it down for me?"
He looked at the little flower clenched in his fist. "But it will die if I just put it down.”
"You will have to bring me a flower sometime when I'm in the house, ok?" I was starting to feel impatient. I didn't have time to deal with a partially wilted dandelion, so I took it from him and gently laid it in the gravel. "I'll put it here and you can find me another one when we get home.”
"But I got that one for you." His words gripped me.
I should have followed my instincts immediately and went through the bother of unlocking the house, digging out the little bud vase I always use for dandelions, and putting the thing in water. But I was in a hurry and didn't. As I backed out the lane, I saw the yellow flower lying in the gravel. And driving down the road, all I could see was a dandelion lying in the gravel. I realized then it wasn’t a flower I had rejected, but my son.
He didn't ask any questions when I turned the van around. Not until we were almost home anyway. "Did we get the wrong road, Mommy?"
"No, we didn't. Tyler, Mommy wants to get that flower you gave me and put it in water really quickly, okay? It was very kind of you to give mommy a flower and I want to take good care of it."
I pulled in the drive, hurriedly put the dandelion in water, and prayed it would survive at least until we returned home.
In the parking space at the grocery store, I opened his door and caught Tyler in my arms. We stood there hugging while I told him how special he is to me. With his little arms wrapped tightly around me and with the world’s sweetest smile, he said, “I love you, Mommy.” I could have cried.
Sara Nolt is a wife and stay-at-home mom of Tyler, age four, and Sophia, two. Freelance writing is my outlet for creativity that satisfactorily uses more brain power than required in making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.