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The Day the Dandelions Stop Coming

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“Here Mommy, I have something for you,” my five-year-old boy said. He turned toward his preschool cubby, and then quickly spun around with an oversized dandelion hanging limp in his hand. For me.

I smiled and sighed a sigh that whispered, ahhhh, he’s still my baby. 

You see, he’s had a tremendous growth spurt this year — physically, as well as emotionally, mentally, and socially. He’s growing up in stop-motion speed. But when I saw that he was still picking dandelions for me, I could see the four-year-old and the three-year-old and the two-year-old versions of him all smiling back at me, behind the outstretched dandelion.

It’s become a summertime tradition — us spending our days outside, me walking home with fistfuls of yellow weeds. And what started out as miniature legs in over-sized jeans stumbling through the grass, excitedly rushing to give me his gifts, has become a child galloping his long legs through the grass with dandelions in hand.

All picked with his mommy in mind.

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He sees something beautiful or curious, and he thinks, “I’ll give that to my mom.” He stops whatever he’s doing to bend down. For me.

Even when he’s at preschool playing with his friends — running down grassy hills, playing catch-me-if-you-can — he’ll pause, think of me, and stuff another flower into his pocket. It’s not just dandelions, of course. One day he found a heart-shaped rock and insisted on writing my name on it.

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He presents these things to me proudly, lovingly, with such a generous and considerate heart. And I’m humbled and grateful to be a little boy’s mama, collector of dandelions. He finds meaning in the ordinary, all with the same message: “I was thinking about you while we were apart. I love you.”

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I know that one day the dandelions will stop coming. He’ll walk through the grass — maybe with a group of friends, maybe on his way to work — and he won’t think to bend down and pick his mom some flowers. One day he’ll look at a green lawn peppered with yellow dots and see weeds, not beauty. One day his pockets will be filled with cash and a cell phone, not bundles of wildflowers and rocks.

And if he does decide to pick some flowers — if that same urge strikes — he’ll probably have someone else on his mind. Someone else will be on the receiving end of his outstretched hand, of his thoughtfulness. And that’s okay.

Until that day, I’ll be grateful for every dandelion, for every heart-shaped rock, for every time he thought of me.

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One day the dandelions will stop coming.

But that sweet, generous, considerate heart? The intention and love behind his gifts? I hope that spreads and sticks like a field of wished-on dandelion seeds.

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Read more from Michelle at EarlyMama.com.

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