Wednesday, November 16, 2005


The sqaushed dandelion

His beautiful grey eyes are cloudy as he comes through the door, and Tristan bursts into tears as he sees me.

"What's wrong?" I ask gently, pulling him toward me. A tearful entry is not uncommon, as he is buffeted by his emotions on many days.

He holds out a wilted and slightly brown dandelion head with a bit of stem attached. Where he found a dandelion flowering in November, even one as pathetic as this one, is a mystery to me. "Bobbie squashed it!" he cries, as I looked over his shoulder and make eye contact with his father, coming through the door with Simon in his arms. Beloved's shrug says, "Don't ask me."

"Bobbie squashed it?" I prompt, genuinely moved by the fat tears rolling over his downy cheeks. Bobbie is the daycare provider, and usually held in high regard. "I'm sure she didn't mean to."

"But I wanted it to be special, for you!" he says through tears so thick I can barely understand him. "And now it's ruined."

I pull him close and wrap my arms around him, my heart enormous with my love for him, and aching for all the things in life that will hurt so much more than a squashed dandelion. This treasure is my son, my first son, but he's not my baby anymore. I have tears in my own eyes as I rock him on his feet, his shoes and coat still on, the dandelion pressed between us.

"He's not so squished," I try to reassure Tristan. "He's quite beautiful, actually." Tristan will have none of it, and is disconsolate.

"I wanted it to be special!" he insists. "Maybe we should put it in some water, and then it will feel better?" he says, showing his first sign of hope. I look at the sad remainder of a former dandelion, and I know no amount of water will ever make a difference.

"Well," I begin, thinking quickly, "what if we planted this beautiful dandelion in the garden? We'll plant him in the garden, and next spring after all the snow has melted, he'll sprout into a beautiful new dandelion with a bright yellow flower."

Tristan nods and smiles, and no rainbow was ever so radiant as his bright eyes as the last tears melt away. I hunt for a moment in the garage to find a small spade, and we step out onto the walkway leading to the front porch. Even though it is not yet dinner time, the sun has set and we both shiver as we stand coatless in our stockinged feet on the cold bricks. I clear away some dried leaves and dig a small hole in the damp earth.

"Do you want to drop it in?" I ask, and Tristan nods. With tender ceremony, he takes the mottled ochre flower and places it gently in the hollow. I hand him the trowel, and he smooths over the earth and leaves.

With great satisfaction, he hands the trowel back to me and turns back for the house. I smile to myself, thinking of the hours I spend each summer pulling the infernal weeds out of the yard, only to plant them in a place of honour in the garden in the fall.

To be honest, I hope it blooms. This is one weed I'll let grow in peace.