the dandy dandelions are baaaaack and we are celebrating them! i cannot help but smile looking at dandelions. i have a rich history with them. i suppose many moms do.
so, for many reasons – the bees included – we won’t be quiiiite as obsessive about ridding our lawn of them. not to mention, they are stubborn and will likely return despite any attempts to mitigate them. i have found taproots of great length underground – dandelions aspiring to be large carrots, channeling the subterranean tenacity of root vegetables.
but – in the end – even with this year’s gargantuan effort to have nice grass and earn the respect of the GrassKing, we need our pollinators and we need flowers for tiny toddlers to pick. so, we will dial it back a little bit on total eradication and live in the memories of fists full of dandelions.
i wondered if it was too predictable. each spring, now, a dandelion. each spring, now, the song “fistful of dandelions”.
yet the lyrics – “you remind me of the simple things” – they still count. maybe even more than before.
singer-songwriter: a musician who writes, composes, and performs their own musical material, including lyrics and melodies. (wikipedia)
composer: a person who writes music, especially as a professional occupation. (dictionary)
pianist: a person who plays piano, especially professionally. (dictionary)
i have not written, composed or performed my own musical material in quite some time now. does that change who i am?
when i wrote “i haven’t been playing” a dear friend asked me, “what’s that about?” i didn’t answer. i wasn’t trying to be rude. i just didn’t have an answer. i still don’t.
we, d and i, decided – in a pillow moment one night – to call all the stuff that has happened (to me) since i broke both of my wrists “the burtons” (naming every-single-weird-thing after the brand of snowboard i was on when i fell.) it matters not – the broken wrists, the scapholunate ligament tear, the firing, the oddball itinerant tendonitis, two broken toes, other strange and disturbing body stuff – we are choosing to call it all “the burtons”.
so, i guess i blame the burtons. i wrote, “i’m not sure of much that isn’t different these days.”
i am learning – ever so slowly – that different is ok.
and as i clear out, clean out, declutter, put away all that is no longer useful – i am beginning – again – to see the simplest things that are left. gratitude for those things is starting to overtake any yearning for more. “all the riches i will need today.”
each day now i write. not lyrics. not music. but words. it is part of the natural rhythm of my day and not something i could sacrifice without great regret.
writer: you’re a writer because of the things you notice in the world, and the joy you feel stringing the right words together so they sound like music. (writer’s digest)
“…so they sound like music.”
and one day, maybe soon – maybe after my studio has been cleared out, cleaned out, decluttered and all that is no longer useful is put away – i will put down whatever my resistance is and place my hands back on the keys.
i don’t suppose it matters how old we get. we are ok if they are ok. conversely, we are not ok if they are not ok.
our children. that moment that your entire life changes – the earth tilts on its axis – and things are never the same again. it’s a conversation i have had again and again.
written when my son was a little boy with a dirty little fist of yellow flowers and my daughter was just a smidge older and taller than he, i am no less gobsmacked by the passage of time now than i was then. days become weeks and months and suddenly many more candles on the birthday cake. and time does what time does. these tiny people become grown human beings in the world and no longer need you to help tie their shoes or put bandaids on owies. no yearning will slow it all down, yet we tend to want to linger in feeling a sense of being needed. the earth keeps spinning; the laugh lines and worry wrinkles appear suddenly in the mirror as we glance on the way past. and the riches are a deep and vast trunk we keep close, always mindful of every tiny or big opportunity to add to it.
it really is the simple stuff. hearing your grown child laugh, watching them adventure, applauding their successes, reassuring them in times of trial. blissful moments you can spend with them, texted pictures of their lives, unexpectedly hearing their voice on the other end of the phone, hugging them. always walking the fine line. so much pressure to hold that line. always learning. knowing their star is still in your galaxy, but is independently forming its own constellation. the emotional perils of motherhood, of parenthood.
“it overwhelms me what i feel…this heart outside of mine….is walking in another person, in another life.”
and always, the bottom line, it seems in each conversation i have had, is the ok-ness. for truly, if they are not ok, there is no way to rest easy. if they are not ok, it changes how we are in the world, how we engage. if they are not ok, it is the first thing we think about in the morning and the last thing in our prayers at night.
little or big, they – indeed – are the riches. they are every single dandelion.
“…it overwhelms me what i feel…this heart outside of mine….is walking in another person, in another life…” (lyrics)
there is something mysterious and knock-you-to-your-knees-powerful about feeling like you have a heart walking in another person. i know – now – how my sweet momma felt. each time she asked me to let her know i arrived safely while driving cross-country, each time i shared good news, each time she checked in on me after any sort of gritty life-drama, each time she sent cards with messages of encouragement or congratulations, each time i saw her try not to weep upon my leaving. i get it. she could feel her heart – out there – moving around in the world, just outside her sight view.
motherhood is not for wimps. it is, by far, the most gratifyingly-toughest-most-important job i will ever know. i have had to grow two extra hearts and then let them go, wandering and exploring this good earth, finding themselves and their happiness. i can feel it, these hearts – out there. but, with the exception of the time i can actually put my arms around My Girl or My Boy, it’s all just outside my sight view. overwhelming. yes.
and, although i have told it before, here is the story – again:
we walked The Girl to kindergarten. it was spring and sunny and warm. dandelions were everywhere. on the way home, The Boy dropped my hand to toddler-zigzag around a yard where dandelions > grass by far (kind of like ours.) he bent down and picked yellow flower upon yellow flower. until he came running back to me. he held up his sweaty-dirty-little-boy fist, full of bright yellow and green dandelions and said, “woses for momma.”
one of the sure signs of spring’s imminent arrival in our town is when boats start populating the harbor again. big shrink-wrap is removed from cabin cruisers, sailboats and yachts of all sizes and the slips start to fill up, slowly at first and then with abandon.
it was with much glee that, on our hike through the trails in a local forest preserve, i spotted it and called out, “the first dandelion!” i’m aware that not many people get as excited about dandelions as i do, but, for me, this harbinger of spring – along with gentle beauties like lilacs and tulips and daffodils – is cause for celebration. it conjures up images of cups of dandelions in water on my counter, having gone from little-kid-fists to my hands. it makes me think of decades ago, sitting cross-legged in the grass, making necklace chains out of clover. it brings the hope of a new season, the ever-more-constancy of sun and warmth, the season of flip-flops approaching.
with so much uncertainty on the horizon, the drone of winter’s end is taxing. we yearn for a blanket of warm sun, a chance to raise our faces from worry to face the sky, to breathe freshly mown grass, to put our hands in the dirt, cleaning away the debris of the harder times, perhaps preparing to plant.
but this is wisconsin and this is life and nothing is really static. life is fluid as is weather. four days after we celebrated “the first dandelion!” we drove home through a snowstorm, blowing, wet snow covering the courageous pioneers of spring. the thing i try to remember, as the grasp of winter holds tight the reins of this new season, is that they are still there.