On the way to school yesterday, my daughter and I were marveling at how beautiful all the trees in the neighborhood looked. Spring is upon us and every tree has blossomed with branches filled with new, green leaves.
“Mommy, which season has your favorite trees?” my daughter asked with genuine curiosity in her voice.
“Well, I love spring trees because it’s so much fun to watch those tiny little buds sprout into gorgeous leaves,” I said as I thought out loud. “And I really love summer trees because of the shade they give us for all our backyard tea parties and bug hunts. Oh, and fall trees are just amazing! Fall trees always remind me fire, all ablaze with reds and yellows and oranges. I like winter trees because they are so peaceful, especially when they are covered in snow and ice,” I said then looked at my daughter in the rearview mirror and smiled.
“Mommy, you just named every season. You didn’t pick a favorite,” she said.
“I guess I just love them all,” I laughed.
“But in the fall we have to clean up all the leaves and walnuts that fall off the trees and you said that it drives you crazy,” my daughter reminded me. “How come now you just say you love the colors?”
She’s got me.
I thought about her question for a minute then answered, “I think it’s all about how you look at things. I could focus on raking up leaves and picking up walnuts, but I prefer to focus on those incredible colors. You are right, the walnuts drive me crazy, but I suppose I’m just trying to focus on the things that make me smile.”
“Like people,” my daughter said casually.
“Like people?” I asked.
“People are like trees. Like sometimes my friend Mara says she won’t play with me because she likes the girls down the street better. I don’t like that. But when she comes over and we swing in the tire swing and play jump rope, that part makes me smile. So I focus on the way that Mara makes me smile, not how she drives me crazy,” she said with a wisdom far beyond her six years.
We arrived at school and that amazingly thoughtful and incredibly compassionate little girl gave me a kiss then skipped off to class. I just sat there staring after her and thought, How was I so blessed to be entrusted with being the mother to this kind-hearted little girl? Then I added a quick prayer, Please Lord, don’t let me mess this up.