Monday, May 23, 2011

Like a Weed

On Friday, Ben will be 29 months old. Yesterday I measured his height: 37 inches. So in 29 months he has grown 15 inches. It's a wonder we can't see him getting taller as we watch. It's no surprise, though; both Karin and I are nearly 6 feet tall (My driver's license says 6' and Karin's says 5'10"; we fudge in opposite directions). Various online height predictors seem to agree that his adult height will be in the neighborhood of 6'2". Some day I'm going to have to turn my head up to look my Little Nugget in the eye.

For years now we have been trying to turn the dirty, rocky mess that was our back yard when we moved in into something we can actually spend time in and enjoy. Two years ago we carted out hundreds of pounds of gravel  and a couple superfluous trees. Last year we edged a flower bed and planted grass. This year we're planting a small container garden and replanting grass to fill in all the spots where it didn't take last year. The ridiculous amount of rain we've gotten recently has been a big help. On Saturday, one of the only sunny days in the last few weeks, Ben was playing outside in the backyard. He loves watering plants with his little watering can. I watched as he filled it from a large, unused planter that had been filled by the rain, then walked  over to pour it out over some dandelions. He repeated this task several times, picking a different set of weeds each time.

"What are you doing, Buddy?"

"Watering the flowers."

And it hit me, I think a lot can be known about a person by whether they see dandelions as weeds to be poisoned, dug up, destroyed, or as flowers. I remember wondering, as a child, what was so bad about dandelions. What differentiated them from the flowers that we were growing intentionally? Now, of course, I just want them to die so I can grow grass. And that's it: before concerns like owning a home and maintaining a lawn take over our lives, we are free to enjoy dandelions as both flowers AND toys, sending their seeds scattering through the air with a playful breath.

I have no doubt that there are adults who can still enjoy dandelions in that way. I am sorry to say that I am not one of them. At least I can watch Ben water the flowers and hope that it is a long long time before he sees them as weeds.

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