There is something about a fistful of dandelions. The way my kids’ little hands wrap around the brightly-colored bouquets of so-called flowers. Their faces shine with pride as they hold them up to me. Smiles beam as they declare, “I picked them for you, Mama.”
For a moment, I think, This is why I do it and this is enough to get me through the tough times. I stick them in a vase only to find that the next day, they are not as bright. Their outer sunshine-induced glow has dimmed, becoming a sickly brownish-green. Their stems droop alongside the outer curve of the vase, carving a path for their weary heads to finally rest upon the kitchen counter. They no longer seem like enough.
I rest my weary dandelion head on the kitchen counter. I feel I am not enough.
There is something about a fistful of dandelions. Something that keeps drawing me back. I know what they truly are compared to what they appear to be, and yet I want them. After every tantrum, every swing, kick, and “Stupid Mama!” I want them. Because in that moment, they are enough. I am enough.
Dandelions are edible and have medicinal uses. They may not have the reputation of a rose or the luscious scent of a lily, but they serve a purpose. They are wild, come back year after year, and never worry themselves about their surroundings.
My 4-year-old son, John, loves to pee outside. Routinely we hear the predictable phrase, “I gotta go pee!” yelled throughout the house followed by thumping feet and the unlocking of our front door. He stands on the edge of our front patio, drops his pants, and then I see his little butt checks squeeze. His hips begin to sway as he shoots the stream of urine wildly back and forth, watering the yard.
There is literally a John pee spot: a dead, dry and yellow patch in the grass. He’ll pull his pants up, take in a deep breath of fresh air, and turn around to jet back inside. Only sometimes he yells, “Wait!” and stops suddenly in his tracks.
When John spots a dandelion “puffball,” the seeds beckon him to blow so they can spread and commit to their destiny. He runs quickly toward one in the middle of the yard, his bare feet jumping over his pee spot.
He yanks on the stem smiling back at me, “I’m going to make a wish!”
He blows several short puffs of air and the seeds depart, spreading all around the yard. Some stick to the stem. John shakes it, grabs the remaining clump of seeds off with his hand, and throws them in the grass. I hope I can make his dream come true. I pray like the spreading seeds, I can fulfill my destiny, and help to nourish his.
I believe dandelions are the mother of all flowers. Like dandelions, we mothers provide food, we can heal, we glow in the sunlight, and sway in the breeze. We get tired, wilt, and rest our heavy heads. We keep coming back to continue on despite what is happening around us.
According to Anita Sanchez, author of The Teeth of the Lion—The Story of the Beloved and Despised Dandelion, “Dandelions are masters of survival.”
There is a reason kids pick these flowers for their moms. We are the dandelions. We bring joy, familiarity, and peace. We are the masters of survival.
Just when you think I couldn’t have taken this dandelion analogy any further, think about how dandelions are rarely by themselves. So often, there are a few together or better yet a whole field full. There are hardly any loner dandelions. No one can survive alone, or at least do it well. We must hold our dandelion heads up for one another if we are to make it through.
If anything survives 2020, it’ll be the dandelions.