My kids and I were playing outside recently. It was early spring, before the first lawn trimming of the year, and there were dandelions popping up everywhere.
Lukas plucked one from the ground and held it up to me. “Look Mommy!” he exclaimed.
I was immediately taken back to my childhood when every time I saw one of these little puffballs, I’d grab it and mom would say “Make a wish!” Then I’d blow and blow until every seed drifted away with the breeze.
I’ve heard different versions of the folklore surrounding dandelions. Some say each seed will carry your thoughts and dreams to loved ones when you blow them in their direction. Others believe that if you blow all the seeds off in a single breath, the person you love will love you back. But for me, it’s just always been a fun tradition to pick one up, close my eyes, and make a wish.
Lukas picked another one for me, waving it in front of me to get my attention. He handed another to his baby sister. We all held them up. “Make a wish!” I said. Lukas thought for a moment. “I wish for a hundred cars!” he said and then blew so hard that every seed shot straight to outer space. We all cheered. I looked at Laney as she attempted to blow by pursing her lips and kissing the tiny puffball. “Your turn Mommy!” I looked at my dandelion. “What do you wish for more than anything?” Lukas prompted me. My mind raced. There were of course a million things I really want. The usual stuff came to mind: lose 15 pounds, win the lottery, have less stress at work, make the neighbor’s dog stop barking, never have to clean up spilled milk again…but everything was falling short that day.
None of those things really seemed important at that moment.
I realized that when it comes right down to it, there is nothing that I want more than what I already have. In other words, nothing out there that I could be striving and hoping and wishing for is more important to me than the things that I already have right in front of me.
It has taken me a lifetime to find this kind of contentment. I’ve been striving for one thing or another for as long as I can remember; always thinking that if I can just achieve this or get there or do that, then my life will really start to make sense. Then I’ll get my act together. Then I can be happy. It was all part of my process, and I don’t regret the hard work that I have done. But it’s hard to look back at the time I wasted chasing something out there, rather than being present to my life and the beautiful blessings in it, because I was placing more value on what I didn’t yet have than on the things I did have.
What is most important to me now is perspective, gratitude, and mindfulness. My priority is to be present and available to what is right in front of me. Especially with my kiddos. I do not want to waste a second of the precious time I have with them wishing for some other time or place.