Thursday, June 20, 2013

When A Flower Blooms

When A Flower Blooms

By Winter Jorgenson

My hands were full of dishes and soap when I turned to see her crawling towards me grinning from ear to ear.  I reached for the camera, precariously held it while I looked through the view finder and, in horror, watched as it slipped from my hand, fell and bounced on the floor.  I didn’t pause.  I didn’t put the dishes down or wipe my slick hands because my beautiful baby was still crawling towards me.   I picked the camera up, snapped the picture and dropped it a second time.  This time it broke.  In the aftermath, I grieved not for the camera but for all the moments that would be lost from memory because I could not possibly record them all.  I wanted to celebrate each moment over and over again.

In those early days of motherhood, I openly shared and celebrated my child and all her milestones.  Unfortunately, snarky comments quieted my sharing.  An acquaintance asked “Did she really say that?” when I shared about a precocious witty comment my little girl made.  Another time a parent snapped at me, “Have you had her tested yet?  She could have Aspergers.”  With the exception of a small group of family and friends, I do not discuss my everyday experiences with many people anymore.  The omission seems dishonest and I believe my children, all children, deserve better from their parents and community.

I believe all children deserve be celebrated.

We celebrate to give thanks, to show support, to welcome someone home or into the family, to show someone that they are valued and loved, to build community, to uphold a tradition, to acknowledge effort or an accomplishment.  Our celebrations can range from extravagant events, to simple words, to quietly inhaling the moment.  When we celebrate a child, we tell him that we are thankful for him, that he is welcomed in the community, that he is valued.  Likewise, when we only celebrate some children and refuse to celebrate others, we are saying that “only some children are welcomed here, only some children are valued, only some children deserve community support.”

It is easy to preach “celebrate every child” but it is difficult to practice, even within a loving family.  When my eldest started reading, I took her to the local coffee shop and we celebrated with a mommy/daughter date.  I waited to tell people outside of our small circle of friends until I was certain other children were reading.  I did not mention that my two year old son had started reading before my four year old.  I did not celebrate his milestone.  Instead, I hid it from everyone including his sister because I feared his intuitive grasp of how to read would undermine her accomplishment.  In doing so, I missed an opportunity to support him for the child he is and to teach him not to hide his abilities.  I also missed an opportunity to teach my daughter to be gracious about others’ accomplishments and that her worth is not dependent upon comparisons or being first.

I missed something else as well.  I remember the reading coffee date with my daughter.  She remembers it.  We have pictures of the event that we can look at fondly for years and years.  In contrast, my memory of my son’s first reading is blurry and loaded with mixed emotions.  If I had chosen to celebrate, then we would have a fond memory for him as well.  Growing up is hard.  Parenting is hard.  It is easy to remember the timeouts and the tantrums because those raw moments demand our full attention and push our limits.  It is more difficult to remember quieter times, small moments of growth and subtle changes.  If we stop to celebrate them, we create maps of positive memories to look back on, maps that will define our time together when we are all older.

I have an iPhone now that I have dropped many times trying to photograph a moment with my children.  Thankfully, the phone seems unbreakable.  Out the window, I can see the kids smelling flowers through slanted sunlight.  It’s a sight worth remembering.  From spring until fall, different plants will flower and the kids will press their noses into them all not caring if a flower is an early or late bloomer.  They do this because that is what you do when a flower blooms.  You take a moment and celebrate.


  1. Thank you so much for this beautiful article. I started tearing up because we've gone through the same thing with our son. We need to remember to keep celebrating his accomplishments even when they are not fully understood or accepted by most people. Thank you for reminding us of that!

  2. You're welcome and I am glad you found it helpful. I cried a bit when writing it and a lot in the pre-writing phase when I was figuring out what to say.


  3. What a fantastic post and a great reminder! Thank you.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...