Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Appreciating the Magnolia Tree

Last week, Laura Vanderkam wrote a post about savoring the bloom of the magnolia tree. The value of the magnolia tree is not only in its beauty, but in the brevity of its bloom. If we let other things sidetrack us, if we let the short window of its pink-flowered life pass by, we won't get another chance (at least not this year).

This weekend, my husband and Edwin and I went to visit the blooming magnolia at my in-laws' house. It was in full flower, a gorgeous shade of pink. My mother-in-law ended up getting some fantastic pictures of us with Edwin beneath the tree. Hopefully, we can be there same time next year, to take more pictures and compare Edwin's growth.

Enjoying the magnolia during its brief window of bloom made me think about savoring the stages of Edwin's development. Right now, he's going through a bit of stranger anxiety. If he hasn't seen a face for a little while, that face better not get too close, because Edwin will crumple and start to wail. When that happens, his arms fly out to wrap around my neck and he burrows his tearful face into my shoulder.

I'm probably supposed to be bothered by this stage, or at least feel sorry for the person Edwin cries over. But I'm not. (Okay, I do feel bad when it's a close family member.) I'm loving the fact that my son is securely attached to me, that I'm the one who can make him feel better, just by being there and holding him. I'm loving that his arms fly around my neck and his face nestles into my shoulder. I'm loving the role of boo-boo kisser and protector from strange people. I don't have to be a veteran mother to know that life is short and this time goes all too quickly. Before I know it, he'll be toddling off on his own. Then will come the day when he wants to be left alone to play. And finally, the heartbreaking moment when he asks me to not drop him off right in front of school and please, mommy, don't kiss me goodbye.

My son's window of needing me might be longer than a magnolia's bloom, but it's even more precious, and I'm going to keep appreciating it until the last flower drops.

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