This afternoon when I got home from picking up Aitch from school, one of the chores I wanted to get done was to clean out the inside of my van. I still had a bag of potting soil in the back from this summer and more recent, the wings from my daughter’s Halloween costume that were among the mishmash of clutter. All of it was taking up an unreasonable amount of space, especially considering I volunteered to transport much of the office supplies from my now closed office to the school for the teachers, which will easily fill up the cargo space.
I told Aitch to go ahead and stay outside and play in what was left of the snow we got Tuesday as I went inside to change out of my office clothes. Before I made it back outside, she came inside with a bouquet of foxtail weed stems and offered them up to me. I was in a bit of a hurry to get back outside before it got much colder or darker so I told her to just hold to it for a bit longer, hoping she’d just get bored and forget about them. I finished zipping up my coat and turned to see she had the stems in her mouth. At that very moment, she decided she didn’t like how they tasted and spit on the kitchen floor. I was infuriated. I took the bouquet from her hands and handed her an antibacterial wipe to clean up the floor. As she wiped up the mess, I absentmindedly threw the foxtail into the trash, still focused on my original intent to get back outside.
She finished cleaning up and opened the trash can and saw the disposed bouquet. Instantly, her flushed face accentuating her big, blue eyes as the tears flowed down her cheeks. “You threw away my flowers because you don’t love me anymore! I didn’t mean to spit on the floor!”
I was horrified that my careless action had elicited such a heartbreaking response. I was so focused on what I wanted that I just saw a handful of weeds. To her, it was a gesture of love, and I literally threw it away.
I can only hope that with the more time I can devote to the projects and chores of the home, that the less harried I will feel to get them done under my currently strict (and largely unattainable) timetable. I’ve never had much patience, which even my mom can attest to, but my shortage of it shouldn’t mean I can’t be long in appreciation in these all-too-brief and fleeting moments of childhood where even weeds represent beautiful innocence.