Treasure the Important Things
In 1988 when I was a mother of two young children, I read this poem in a parenting newsletter. Its heartfelt message prompted me to snip it from the pages to keep as a special reminder to always treasure the most important but simple things in life.
At that time, I knew I was blessed to be a mother. My heart was filled to overflowing with every unexpected memory-making moment and I was thrilled to explore the world through the eyes of my children. The knowledge that these precious years would rush by in an eye-blink outshone the sleepless nights and endless piles of dirty washing.
My life has gone full circle since then and I now find myself once again in a caring role, but this time for my 88-year-old mother who has dementia and lives with us. Sometimes I’m wistful as I see my friends exploring the world with the wisdom and freedom that age brings, but I know that these precious years will also rush by in an eye-blink.
This morning, I came across the little poem kept all those years ago, so now I’m looking for dandelions!
Today I know I’m blessed to be a daughter, and I’m focussing on every unexpected memory-making moment. The sleepless nights and endless piles of dirty washing will pass, but I’ll always have my dandelion memories.
So, I decided to share the poem here with you. I hope no matter what stage of your life you find yourself experiencing, you’ll always have many dandelions.
I look at you, my single friend,
Your clothes all bright and new,
And I wonder how it might have been
If I had stayed like you.
If we were still to share that flat
And go to work each day,
Our only worry in the world –
How to spend next week’s pay!
I can’t help feeling envious
Of your weekends free and happy,
Of your Sunday morning sleep-ins,
How you never change a nappy.
And on our trips down to the beach,
You lie there in the sun,
And while you’re lying, basking,
I sunbake on the run.
We make arrangements, you and I,
To meet and see a show.
I phone, the baby’s teething,
I’m sorry I can’t go.
I just can’t leave him fretful,
You say that it’s okay,
I sit at home, regretful,
Perhaps another day.
And as I’m sitting pensive,
The back door’s thrown wide
And a grubby little person
Comes running from outside.
His shirt is torn, his shorts askew,
His hair is thick and rumpled,
And, in his hand, a dandelion,
It’s petals limp and crumpled.
He climbs up, then, upon my lap,
And looks into my face,
His eyes tell me, in his small world,
This is his favourite place.
He puts his arms around my neck,
(His hands are sticky, too),
He puts his mouth against my ear
and whispers, “I lub you.”
I swap the years of memories
For this one precious minute;
He carefully finds my buttonhole
and puts his flower in it.
And then I know, my single friend,
Though my luxuries may be few,
As long as there are dandelions
I’ll not swap lives with you.
– S. Sydney (CEA Toowoomba Newsletter, 1988)