|While this canvas I finally finished needlepointing isn't a replication of the flowers my son brought me so many years ago, it is as close as I could come to putting my weed flower memory into a picture. |
The gifts were never huge or splendid. Usually they consisted of a new housecoat or a sweater or a tool I had requested for the kitchen or all the sewing projects I had going. Each year I suggested Jim just buy me flowers. I loved getting flowers and I cared not what kind they were. Every year Jim said the same exact thing: flowers are a waste of money; they die and then you have nothing. How little did I realize that the kids were collecting information about me. To my surprise, I would find out the year my son turned six.
It was a lovely spring that year. Plenty of rain had fed the hills and valleys, bringing the wildflowers out of their seculsion and painting the land with their lovely yellows, blues, whites, and pinks. My son had been out playing with his two best friends from school and as I looked at the clock, I realized they'd been gone entirely too long. Calling his name at the top of my lungs hadn't brought him home. I was irritated more than scared--but only because we live in such a safe part of the city. I started supper, chopping, dicing, and mincing the vegetables and herbs that would go in the stew pot. I kept glancing at the clock, my irritation growing.
By the time he was 30 minutes late, I had a loud reprimand on the edge of my tongue, along with a plan to restrict him from playing with anymore friends till he turned thirty. Well, maybe only twenty-one. When he finally appeared, his blonde hair touseled, his clothes filthy, a mysterious grin on his young face and both hands held behind his back, my imagination ramped up. How grateful I am to this day that he spoke before I could open my mouth.
Excitedly, he thrust his hands toward me. Clutched in them was the saddest, most beautiful collection of weed flowers I'd ever seen. "I picked these for you, mommy," he grinned. "I love you." I held back tears, knowing he wouldn't understand.
"Oh, thank you, honey. They're beautiful," I said. He squirmed about with such pleasure it was hard not to smile. "I went all the way down into the canyon to get them for you because I know how much you like flowers and daddy always forgets to buy you any."
The canyon! He wasn't allowed in the canyon. And he knew it. Not only is it two blocks from our home, but it runs nearly the whole width of the mesa we live on. It is filled with all manner of cacti and thistles and prickly things that stick to your clothes and sometimes penetrate your skin. Add to that the many wild critters who reside there--most of whom are not friendly--and it becomes the forbidden land. Not a good place for six year olds. Or adults either.
I held my tongue. We'd talk about the canyon later. For now I whispered a secret prayer to God. "Oh Lord, teach me to be quick to listen and slow to speak, lest in my own foolishness I somehow ruin a precious weed flower moment with those I love more than life itself."
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord." Psalms 127:3
Copyright 2011 by Sandra L. Keith. All rights reserved.
Photo by Sandra L. Keith. Do not reproduce without permission of the author.