It is spring and the weeds, grown strong and well-fed from a winter’s worth of rain, are asserting their place in my yard. I know that to make room for my big garden dreams I have to pull out the determined roots of these humble plants. But as I contemplate the task, I wonder why we have chosen the weeds and not the flowers for some of the most treasured of the small rituals we share with our children?
We hold buttercups under their chins. “Yes, you like butter.” I have always, every time, loved how sweet that skin is, so soft and hidden, glowing golden under the smiles.
We teach them to make wishes on dandelions. “Close your eyes. Blow!” And so we send the seeds on their tiny delicate parachutes twirling through the air currents, nature’s insurance policies piggybacking on our children’s secret hopes.
We look with quiet footsteps for lucky four-leaf clovers. And they are magical, those soft beds of tender green leaves and sweet raggedy pompoms.
We say: “You are growing like a weed.”
And so they are, and so they do.
They are so fleeting, these moments. We know this, but they slip away anyway in the wake of the next thing, the popsicle in the freezer, the bike to learn to ride. We root out the weeds to make room for the roses.
The bees too love the buttercup, the dandelion, and the clover. My neighbors pull out, poison, banish these insistent invaders from their gardens and lawns and I do too when they threaten, like the buttercup do, to choke out the strawberries and the chives. I feel sorry though that I am depriving the bees of their pollen and us of opportunities for small magic. Part of me wants to encourage a few shoots to go rogue under fences and into park edges so we can forever and always remember to make daisy chains with our children, to wish on dandelions, and look for the luck hiding in patches of clover.