The first time I recognized the power of love, I was 4 years old.
The revelation began in the morning, when my mom sent me off to the backyard to play in the sandbox, as she often did.
I hated the sandbox.
It was ….sandy.
And hot. The day was as it should be in August – hot and humid. A sandbox added to the sticky misery.
So, I found my way over to the neighbor’s shady green bush that leaned over our weathered fence like a ballerina over a well-used barre. The green leaves didn’t catch my interest as much as the feathery dainty white ladies dancing within them.
The ladies’ faces beckoned me to release them from their green prison.
I plucked one, then another.
As I freed them, I placed them on the ground all in a row, giving each one a name: Sally, Silly, Sandy, Susie . . .
“YOU STOP THAT!”
I dropped the next flower (Sarah) as the crotchety neighbor, wearing rollers in her hair and a ferocious scowl on her face, sprang out from behind the bush.
“Leave my flowers alone!”
I began to cry, and in an instant, a nanosecond probably, I heard our screen door snap open.
And at the top of her lungs my mother screamed:
LEAVE MY PAMMY ALONE!
My heart flip flopped. I felt the power of love and reached my arms toward my mom in response. I don’t recall what the neighbor did. I didn’t care.
I handed my flowery ladies to the one who loved me, not knowing, of course, that expressing love through the gift of flowers is as ancient as time.