Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Violets are blue

For as long as I can remember -- probably longer than I've been alive -- my mom has kept a pair of miniature vases on the kitchen windowsill. When we were kids, my sister and I would bring in handfuls of violets and dandelions, and Mom always let us put them in the little vases. They stayed in the window until they were wilted and crispy, and only then would they be thrown out. My mom never complained that dandelions are a weed, she never acted like she was tired of getting identical handfuls of little purple and white flowers.

My mother is not a perfect person. There are things about her that I actively seek not to emulate. But those things are few in comparison to the things that I believe she did right, or at least as right as she knew how. We were never made to feel like our questions were dumb. We were always expected to do our best, to act right, and to be as kind and patient with each other as we could (not always easy when you're the much older sibling). We were encouraged, supported, pushed and pulled, held up and talked down from ledges. And even at our weediest, we were never treated as anything less than flowers worthy of a pretty vase in the window. One of my greatest hopes is that someday my kids will feel the same way.

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