(Writing from June 22, 2011.)
What’s not to love about the duality of a dandelion? I adore these dreaded yard weeds that make themselves known with cheerful yellow flowers, friendly, edible leaves, and puffballs made for dreamy wishing.
Of course I had to teach my son the joy of pissing off the Yard Police by blowing the seeds everywhere in the name of hopeful thinking. This is a childhood rite of passage akin to playing ‘loves me loves me not’ with a daisy, and must be passed down from one generation to the next.
When I first taught the fine art of dandelion wishing to my boy, he was three years old and not quite into the Mommy Adoration phase of boyhood. He was actually still in the temper tantrum-throwing I’m Only Still Alive Because I’m Cute phase.
When he made a wish on a dandelion, he would get a mischievous gleam in his blue eyes and say, “I wish that one hundred bees would sting my mom in the face!” Or something creepy like that – the more disturbing, the better. I would pretend to be mock dismayed on the outside with a smile, while feeling somewhat genuinely dismayed on the inside. There was a part of me that believed his wishes might actually come true. After all, what is more powerful than the wish of a true believer?
But no bees stung me in the face. And now that he is five, I’ve noticed he wishes for nice things. I was walking behind him through our neighborhood recently as he rode on his bike, and he stopped to pick a dandelion.
As he made a wish, he told me he was going to make the wish for me. He blew the puffy white dandelion apart and wished that I would have “…a happy sun, ponies, and a fish that doesn’t ever poop and make its tank dirty.”
He then handed me a fresh round puffball and told me to make a wish for him. I wished that he could have a long, happy, wonderful life, and I blew the seeds into the Oklahoma wind. My eyes watered a bit, hoping so fiercely that my wish for him will come true.
Here are some pictures of him making dandelion wishes, growing annoyed with his mom for trying to get him to look at the camera and smile, and finally riding away from me in exasperation.
I get that “Mom, you are a ridiculous human being,” look* featured in the penultimate photo quite often these days. If you ever decide that you are extremely cool, and wish to be knocked down a few notches in the name of garnering humility… have a child.
*I call it his Death Stare. In fairness, I might have just called him “Chicken Little” before I took the picture. (From the movie. It’s the big helmet. I can’t help it.) He gets really pissed off when I do that.