Not long ago, I stopped by our local Kroger store on my way home from work. I had gone in for one or two items, but as usual, had trouble getting past the floral section in the front of the store. Flowers have always attracted my attention…the colors, the smells, the unique beauty of each stem. My husband knows that if I come up missing in the grocery store, it’s fairly certain that I can be found in the middle of the flowers.
That day, I was pulled to the floral display by a rather large and stunning offering of sunflowers. It didn’t take long for one of the bouquets to make its way into my basket. After I had admired the sea of yellows and golds, I made my way to the next display to view the other flower varieties.
About that time, a little girl, maybe three or four years old, came into the store with her mother. The mom was busy with her phone and grocery list and I watched the little girl make a beeline to the sunflowers. She stopped in front of them and oh so gently touched a small finger to one of the yellow petals. Her face had an expression of pure delight. I understood that expression completely.
Her busy mother came up behind her and said, “Yes, they are pretty” and pulled the small girl away toward the produce section. Holding her mother’s hand, the disappointed girl looked back at the sunflowers until the two of them rounded the corner out of sight.
Oh, how I wished her mom had picked up a yellow bouquet for her. But then, I still remember the busy mom years when it felt like there were always more things to do than time to do them. I wondered if my own daughter had ever looked longingly at the flowers and I had pulled her away to get the shopping done. Probably not, since my daughter loves flowers as much as I do.
I was still enjoying the flowers when the mom and daughter reappeared. This time, the daughter pulled her mother toward the sunflowers and stopped and looked up at her mom with a pleading smile. I held my breath and watched from my position between the bouquets of stargazer lilies and the alstroemeria. “Please buy her flowers,” I whispered to myself and to fate.
The mom hesitated, then told the little girl to pick out the ones she wanted. The girl giggled and jumped up and down with joy. She chose a bouquet of sunflowers and holding it with both small hands, walked happily toward the cash registers with her mom.
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.” – Helen Keller