This evening, while I was shooting hoops in the driveway, my 4 year-old was digging a hole in our mulch. “Can we go over there?” she asked, when her blue shovel could no longer penetrate Georgia red clay. She pointed to a patch of dandelions and other wild flowers across our street. “I want to pick some flowers,” she said.
We held hands while we walked, but when we reached the other side I released her into the grasses stretching toward the warmest sun we’ve had in days. Knee deep in pasture, she carefully hand-picked a bunch of white and yellow blooms, and led the way back to the hole by our driveway.
“I’m going to plant these flowers,” she declared.
She stood the flowers into the hole with one hand, and with the other, pushed the mulch and dirt into a mound around them. After she’d packed the flowers in tight, she brushed the dirt off her hands.
“Now what do we need to make them grow?” she asked.
“Water,” I said, as I picked a container out of our recycling bin and filled it to the brim from our outdoor faucet.
She took the bottle from me and carefully poured the water where the stems met the earth. Nevermind that these were weeds or that they’d be wilted by morning.
My daughter had assumed full responsibility of them.
What I found so touching about seeing her tend to her flowers, was that she seemed to understand, intrinsically, a concept that I didn’t really grasp until my mid-thirties:
It really doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to nurture someone or something else.
The slightest bit of attention goes an awfully long way.