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Dandelions, Cranberry Sauce, and a Fairy Tale

Had I paid more attention to the dandelions, these years may have made more sense.

I figured that’s just how it was going to be. So many times I have thought about how it could have been different, how I could have been a different mother, how in different circumstances the fairy tale might possibly have come true.

My mind sometimes goes to a place well into the future. We are at the farm, and it’s Thanksgiving. Through the happy chaos, amid the carved turkey, cranberry sauce, and sweet potato pie, I know that my grown children…at least some of them…have come home for the holiday. There is a new generation, too, taking places at the table, the same table that has served us so well through these years, the table where our friend drew scenes of our family’s favorite pastimes, pastimes which may again be lived out in these new days. When I would look, though, as hard as I would try, I could not see her there.

What is it that moves you to put your brushes to the canvas, to sing out the music in your soul, to move your body to rhythm or beat, to put thoughts on paper with the furious movement of a fountain pen, or to do whatever it takes to exercise the baring of what is inside of you?

It must be the same as that which allows you to cry out with a deep, soul emptying force in an attempt to destroy, or at least damage this wall of grief which has held you back for too long. It must also be the same as that which allows you to rejoice with such passion that tears well and flow in honor of what seems infathomable joy and grace.

We paint, we sing, we dance, we write, or we otherwise release our inner turmoil and exaltation, and all our passions, into the air around us. And herein, our humanity, the thread which serves to connect even the unconnected, is revealed, is stripped to sameness. We are one another; we are one.

At times it seemed an arduous race. There would be no winner. The time crawled as the pins dropped, but there was no quiet. Then, in the blink of an eye, we somehow crossed a finish line, closed a door that we did not even know existed.

Through the separation, the days filled up in ways different than before. There was strife and worry and wonder, and many days that turned to weeks absent of word. It could have been a natural part of growing up, of growing away, had it not felt so purposeless and empty.

I had done the best I could…or had I? I was the mother that I had been, right or wrong, confident or fearful, steady or shaking, and at the mercy of my best intentions. A child, my child, was no longer, for she had navigated herself, with or without my guidance, to the world of grown ups.

The mower had put an end to the sunny bursts of yellow atop the hollow, thin dandelion stalks. By late afternoon, though, new flowers shone with equal brightness to once again decorate the fields at the farm. How did this happen?

I wondered, if I had stared at the lawn through the hours of just one day, if I had had the patience to just be, would I have actually been able to see the dandelions take form from bud to bloom?

When I turned around with my eyes open, she was already a flower.

I guess it just might be a different kind of fairy tale. It’s not that she wasn’t to come home again. It’s just that in that moment, in the reverie that played as a familiar song, that I heard as a story, that I felt in my soul, that was painted in oil on canvas, I hadn’t seen her. Like my dandelions, though, I knew that she would come in her own time, when I was least expecting her.

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