Our front yard is very large and very weedy. We have a lot of clovers and dandelions. My daughter, three and a half years old and one to stop to smell the roses, likes to pick clover blossoms or dandelions for me when we trek from the car to the front porch. I’ve started a small collection of the flowers she’s picked for me. I’m drying them to make a display when I get enough blossoms.
Today was no different. She saw the clover blossoms and wanted to pick one.
The backpack was heavy and clunky on my back. Penny, my 15 month old clung to my hip. I fidgeted with the keys in my other hand. “Come on Daphs, let’s go,” I yelled back to her as I passed her stooping body in the clovers. I stepped up onto the porch and adjusted Penny on my hip. She was still picking a clover blossom.
Frustrated, I opened the door and stood waiting for her to make her way up the yard and up the steps to me.
We had just come from the mothers morning out at the YMCA. The girls go every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to afford me the chance to work on my art and catch up on errands. Today, I was told that Daphne kicked, hit, and (this is new) spit at her friends today. My heart sunk when the worker told me she spit at friends during story time and had to be put in a high chair in time out. Of course Daphne denied these things when I asked her but later she admitted to them.
The drive home was tough. I felt like a failure. I still do even while writing this. I confided in Daphne while driving “Honey, Momma’s really frustrated and sad right now and I need time to process my emotions,” and cried. She stayed silent in the back seat.
As she came in to the house, I shut the door behind us and wriggled out the backpack while still holding Penny. “Please take your shoes off and go potty,” I grumbled at Daphne. I looked down at her and she had a clover blossom in her tiny toddler hands. She held it up to me and I stepped around her to make my way to the kitchen to prepare a bottle for Penny’s naptime.
Daphne sat on the floor to remove her shoes. She placed the blossom next to her lunchbox and walked away to inspect her bedroom for naptime.
I put Penn down for a nap and then hurried Daphne along to naptime. I gave her her water and strawberry milk, told her “I love you baby,” and shut the door.
There on the floor lays the flower I didn’t get.
The missed connection.
The time when I should have put aside my anger, my guilt, my frustration, and just loved my daughter in front of me.
I should have taken the time to cherish her enormous heart that had beaten in the past five minutes just to pick out a the perfect clover blossom for me and bring it in to me. And I denied her with my silence, my brisk sidestepping.
I went to the flower and picked it up, wanting to add it to my collection of flowers she had given me. In the instant I laid it next to the other dried blossoms, I felt a tinge of guilt. She hadn’t given it to me. She tried. I rejected it with my rushed hurried frustration. And she didn’t say a word about it.
It’s a sobering thing, being a parent. As I sit here typing, I’m sniffling and wiping my tears away while angrily cleaning my glasses. I admit I’m struggling and swimming in a sea of inadequacy. I feel like I’ve let down Daphne. Like I’ve let down myself.
I look outside and see a sea of white poofs speckled among green blades of spring grass. Many more clover blossoms. Many more chances.
May I never ignore a clover blossom again.