In the photo on my desk, my son Joe was 9 years old, wearing a baseball cap twisted backwards and baggy old hand-me-down jeans. Flip flops finished his scruffy-kid look. In his hands, he clutched a bouquet of red camellias picked from the neighbor’s yard. There was a soft almost embarrassed smile on his face.
There’s nothing sweeter than a little boy who picks flowers for his mother, and I did what mothers are supposed to do. I found a beautiful vase and made a big deal about arranging them and displaying the bouquet in a place of honor. When he brought me flowers, it was one time he’d still allow me to cuddle and kiss him without much fuss. Flowers in exchange for a kiss. It was a good deal for us both.
If a child hears, “That’s just a bunch of old weeds, throw them out!” they’ll hesitate to give again. But when we welcome their basic blossoms with honor, we are nurturing a generous person. Don’t we need more of those?
When my friend discovered she and her husband were expecting a baby boy, I thought of all the bouquets she’d receive over the next few years and I knew I had to find the perfect bud vase for her. I carefully wrapped it and wrote this note to tuck inside:
She Always Loved Flowers
The vase looks fragile but will hold
wild roadside flowers and
of every scraggly kind.
Flowers picked from the neighbor’s yard
and blossoms snitched from the church altar
while you turned your back for one second
will look like precious jewels.
Presented with dirty, sticky hands,
twinkling eyes and a
he’ll hand you love on stems.
A fistful of weeds will say, “I’m sorry”
wild violets will explain, “I love you”
daisies will shout, “I need your attention”
and a camellia begs, “will you hold me?”
By placing his flower in a special vase,
you’ll be telling him how much he’s valued.
To Mom, it’s not just some old weed
It’s a piece of his heart.
Small things are important
just like him, and
there’s a reason to celebrate
everything God has made
The weeds and flowers
Thorns, vines and
leaves may not be perfect
but he is.
The vase looks valuable but
what it holds is
a piece of his heart
which is priceless.
Finding value in the common
Will help him grow a heart for others.
And someday, he’ll take this vase to his house and say,
“my mother always loved it when I brought her flowers.”
This story first appeared in AL.com newspapers in Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville