I used to pick wildflowers. I used to look forward to May so that I could put together a birthday bouquet full of lilies, thistles, and queen anne's lace that I found in fields or along Texas roads for my friend Amanda's birthday each year. I used to be a wildflower. But there is something about being a mom, or a wife, or maybe just an adult, that makes it hard to keep up that wild, care-free spirit. I'm a role model now. I have important things to do with my precious little time. Most days, I probably resemble a cactus--strong, sturdy...and prickly--more than a wildflower swaying in the breeze.
We were on our way to buy crickets for our newest pet, who you may have met in a previous post. It was an hour past bedtime, and the pet store would only be open for another 30 minutes. Donnie was out of town, so it was all on me to keep our beloved pet stocked with prey to stalk, especially since she had turned her nose up at the last treat we presented to her. Angelina the Tarantula was not exactly Momma's favorite on this night.
Neither was Eli. Because about 5 minutes from our destination, my potty-training 3-year-old told me he had to potty. Dark thoughts.
There was literally nothing around except a field, not that I would have been able to take him in anywhere since I wasn't wearing proper supportive undergarments. In fact, the only person who was fully dressed was Emma, who I was planning to send into the store. Everyone else was in jammies or less, since it was an hour past bedtime. Out of potty options, we pulled over to the field. And as there were no trees to aim for, which are his preference when taking relief in the wild, I pointed out a small purple thistle. "Go for it." I stood there grumbling in my heart for a minute as he finished, knowing we could easily run out of time.
And then glanced up at the field.
It was absolutely bursting with wildflowers. Gorgeous purples, pinks, rusts, and golds--colors I would never put together, but in nature, they just work. And as I stood there, I felt the stirring of my inner wildflower from within my hard cactus shell. Do I have the time? I tossed the kid back into the car, and grabbed one of the five pairs of scissors in the glove box, because that's where you keep scissors apparently, and I ran. I cut as many as I could carry while my kids looked on with amusement. I saw them giving each other the nervous side-eye like, "Exactly when will Dad be back from his trip...?"
It only took about 5 minutes. After their initial shock, the kids started pointing out patches and colors that I didn't have yet. And then with my arms full, my heart racing, and hands stinging from the thistles, I got in the car and drove to the pet store. We pulled in with a few minutes to spare.
A lot of times when I'm ordering my day, I fill that to-do list to the top, the sides, and the bottom. Because there is never enough time to do what needs to be done. That list is full, and tasks get crossed out! But there is no margin. I need margin. Nice Mommy is in the margin. Mommy who tries new recipes and card tricks is in the margin. Encouraging Wife who sends texted love notes in the middle of the day is in the margin. Wildflowers are in the margin. I want to be a wildflower again. As my children get older, they don't need me to be quite so rigid with their "training-up." Maybe they never did. I think it's time to practice the gentle sway of the wildflower again. I liked that version of me. I think my family will too.