I envy them.
Seeds cast by the wind to land where they may, they stay and hold against most hot, most cold.
They persevere, roots shallow yet fierce and free.
They epitomize to me all that I sometimes yearn to be.
~Julie Andrews, Wildflowers
When I was a little girl I’d collect flowers on my walk to my grandma’s house. I’d gather them in huge bunches, grasping their stems tightly, anticipating the look my grandma would have on her face when I pulled them out with a Surprise! from behind my back.
I remember one time my uncle was there and when he saw what I had in my small hands he teased: Those are weeds! I wanted to throw them away, afraid my grandma wouldn’t want them anymore. And when she saw me with my hands behind my back she asked me where her flowers were–it had become such a daily routine, of course she would wonder why I hadn’t brought her flowers. I mumbled apologetically, But I brought you weeds. Her eyes sparkled as she told me: Mija. Wildflowers are just as pretty as any other flower. And she took them from my hand and placed them gently in a cup of water.
As a child I learned that when people ask what your favorite flower is, they expect to hear; roses or daisies maybe daffodils. I always tell people tulips are my favorite. But the truth is, I love wild flowers. I remember seeing the California Poppies growing wild on the side of the freeways and thinking they were the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Even now, my eyes are drawn to the majestic Indian Blanket I see growing in the fields through out my neighborhood in Texas.
With wildflowers, my grandma taught me to see beauty in all things. To see the beauty that lies in the grittiness of life.
It’s why I’m drawn to running. Looking at it from the outside I can see how people are initially pushed away–sweaty, tired, aching lungs and legs. I know when I finish a run and my face is bright red, body drenched in sweat–I know that isn’t the traditional definition of beauty. But I feel the beauty in it. The beauty of being pushed beyond my comfort level, doing something I love and yet it is so physically challenging and sometimes emotionally draining, as I waiver on wanting to give up and wanting to finish what I started.
The beauty of running is like wild flowers. Tough. Perseverance. Not as graceful as the gymnast or as dazzling as the soccer player. But my grandma’s words echo in my heart–it’s just as beautiful as any other flower out there.
And Motherhood is where I feel her presence the most. The way she taught me to see the beauty in wildflowers is the anchor of my place in this world: appreciating the beauty of motherhood. It’s not ever what I expected it to be–this most challenging, heart wrenching, and sweet life of being a mother–a life that I chose without exactly knowing how deeply I would feel. And I wouldn’t give it up for anything this earthly world could offer me.
I see and feel the beauty of motherhood–through the tears and heartache, the sweet tender moments that are so achingly personal you don’t want to share it with the world through social media–because it’s yours to keep, the caress of a soft cheek, wiping away tears on a wailing child, rocking a little one to sleep, the feelings of wishing you could take away their pain–and yet knowing they must experience it to find their own place in the world, grateful your oldest still lets you hold her–a wiry limbed almost 9-year-old and feeling the bittersweet ache as you remember how her body used to fit completely, wholly, into the nook of your arm all while wondering: How did you get to this place?
Motherhood is like wildflowers. Gritty. Fiercely intense. Beautiful.
Wildflowers–just as beautiful as any other flower out there.
Never Give Up,
For my children. I appreciate you.
Through all the things my eyes have seen
The best by far is you
For all the places I have been
I’m no place without you
For all the things my hands have held
The best by far is you
~Andrew Macmahon, Cecilia And The Satellite
Thank you for my wildflowers: The gift of motherhood.
Also published on I Love To Run.