Driving through Andalusia nearly two years ago on a scorching hot summer day we passed a sunflower field eviscerated by the sun; heads down, leaves gone, their little bodies brown instead of the brilliant yellow I love. Every last sunflower dead. Except one. One sunflower in a sea of thousands, alive and bright, its head up and facing the world despite the odds.
The next month two lines told me life might change forever. It was the might of my topsy turvy pregnancy that filled me with worry. I won’t pretend I achieved any sort of zen, it was 280 days of worry because nothing is certain until it is. But this picture? The memory of this sunflower, centered me. It gave me a measure of peace. It was my symbol for hope. Each time I saw it I thought of my own little sunflower growing inside me, remembering that with Him all things are possible.
Waleed turns one Saturday. Time no longer meanders as it did when I was pregnant, instead I’ve boarded a bullet train and it shows no sign of slowing. And this past week I began feeling a bit melancholy until my friend Saba called, asking to meet up before Waleed’s birthday. I brought you something, she said when I saw her today, and pulled out a gift-bag. No need for gifts, I began with a smile and a protest until I looked inside:
A dozen hand-made sunflower cupcakes with the ladybugs that land on my son each chance they get. They’re for you, she said with a smile. It’s mother’s day weekend and you’re a great mother. I stared at these sunflowers. Here, not to center me. Not to stave off fear. But sunflower cupcakes from a dear friend. I tried to explain to her what this gift meant to me, but the words got stuck in my throat. How can I articulate what it means to look at these sweet sunflowers for a child I called Sunflower until they placed him in my arms? It’s when I realized: I’ve come full circle. My dream came true.
As gifts from friends afar perch themselves on my doorstep and I hold these cupcakes made with love from a dear friend, I feel the melancholy vanish like powder in a stream. My son is growing up yes, but my son is growing up. I’m so lucky to see him bloom before my eyes. [And Saba needs to start a cupcake shop, or a baking blog, don’t you agree?]
This was my three beautiful things Thursday but I’m sure you counted well more than three. Hope you had a beautiful Thursday too.