Typically, in our house, we don't condone murder. This includes ants, worms, and butterflies. (But excludes flies and cockroaches, in an understandable caveat.) This rule also includes flowers. As in, "Mommy, Dano just keeeeeeled a baby flower in the back yard!"
Yesterday evening, Fernando and I were laying on our bed, just talking through life. The windows were open, and some unseasonably cool Phoenix weather was making life particularly sweet. We laid there listening to the sound of our kids laughing, spraying each other with the hose, and tossing tennis balls up on the roof. (Don't ask.)
Suddenly we heard Daniel exclaim with his usual exuberance, "I'm going to go give Mommy this red flower!" Violet squealed (with her usual sidekick exuberance) and then we heard footsteps, a screen door open and shut, and more footsteps to the side of the bed where we were resting. And then I was peering up into two beaming-with-pride faces, wet and sweaty from outside play, offering me one perfect red bloom from one of our hibiscus plants.
It was lovely. Then we noticed, it was a little TOO lovely. We started to launch into our "please pick flowers up from the ground, don't pick them from the bush" speech, but then stopped. His face was too precious to deflate. That bloom was so incredibly beautiful, and I realized in a moment that it meant a thousand times more in my hand in that moment than it ever would had we left it, unnoticed, on the bush on the side of the house.
Maybe it was the cool weather and magical evening, but I couldn't stop looking at that bloom. It sat in my hand for a long time, and then on the counter next to me after that (because let's be honest, dinner doesn't make itself).
I think I thanked him a dozen times for that flower. And each and every time, without fail, he puffed up with pride and flashed me that sweet, cock-eyed, almost sympathetic smile... the one he pulls out when he knows he's done good. "Mommy, I knew you'd love it. It's red, and red is your favorite. I love you Mommy."
And somewhere halfway through making those sandwiches, I made a decision. No, I won't encourage picking off living flowers. But every time one is presented to me in the future, regardless of where it comes from, I will exclaim with joy. I will shower praise and thanks. I will make sure that as long as this season of sweet-son-who-is-giving-Mommy-spontaneous-thoughtful-gifts lasts, I will enjoy it. Because it won't last forever.
In the meantime, I will keep writing these things down so when these precious seasons DO end, I will have some way to savor the memories. Because we all know my memory is toast.
(What color was that flower again?)