Not a native Texan, I learned about the beloved state flower of Texas, the bluebonnet, when I moved here. I fell in love with the bluebonnets once I had children – and learned about the Texas tradition of taking photos in bluebonnets. Loving photography as I do, this was an easy tradition to adopt and I eagerly await the three weeks each year when bluebonnets are in bloom.

Our Bluebonnet pictures over the years

Our bluebonnet pictures over the years

As I was driving through the Texas countryside a few weeks ago I found myself ‘oohing’ and ‘aaahing’ at all the little patches of bluebonnets springing up along the side of the road. My parents (who were visiting from out of state) were driving behind me and when we reached our destination the first thing I asked them was, “Did you see all the bluebonnets along the road?” They have seen my bluebonnet photos and are aware of the tradition and I was excited they could actually seem them in bloom in person.

“No, we didn’t. But we did see the cactus,” was my mom’s reply.

Huh. I didn’t see any cactus. How could two people driving along the same road see different things?

And then it struck me. It’s like anything in life, and especially like parenting: Everyone sees things through different lenses, but you get to choose what you see.

Parenting is hard. I know. There are many opportunities to see the difficult moments; usually every day something happens that challenges me. Yes, those cacti are always around in parenting. And if we aren’t careful, that may be all we see and all we talk about. The tantrums. The sleepless nights. The sibling fights. The stomach bug making the rounds. The isolation. Cacti, all of them. The spikes. The dryness. The same old look – day after day after day. Ouch.

But if you look across the road you will see the bluebonnets. They are there, too, if you are willing to look for them.

Bluebonnet season is the time when our children are young and home with us. When you can kiss their sweet cheeks, and giggle with them, and lie next to them as they fall asleep, and listen to their hopes and their worries, and give them hugs when they are scared, and wave to them during the school program, and help them with homework, and with learning to tie their shoes, and listening to their belly laugh and infectious giggles, and laughing at their made-up jokes. If you just stop and stare at your child, watch them as they play, and truly marvel at their untapped potential, their boundless spirit, their beautiful innocent self, you are seeing the bluebonnets.

Bluebonnet season is “let’s play soccer for just 5 more minutes.”

Bluebonnet season is watching their excitement at losing a tooth and the resulting visit from the tooth fairy.

Bluebonnet season is when they ask to sit next to you on the couch during family movie night.

Bluebonnet season is listening to “Wheels on the Bus” for the 500th time in the car – and hearing them sing along.

Bluebonnet season is spontaneous, wet, slobbery kisses from your 2 year old and special drawings from your 7 year old.

Maybe bluebonnets are so special because their bloom time is so limited. I adore bluebonnets when they are in bloom. I can drive past the same patch every day for three weeks, and I always say “Look, bluebonnets!” I enjoy the bloom while it’s there for me to look at – because I know it won’t be long before they are gone.

And it is the same with our children while they are at home with us. I know that some day they will grow up and leave home, venturing out to make a life of their own. It’s by design. And we will miss them. But I am trying my best to enjoy this difficult journey as much as I can by focusing on the precious time that it is. Learning about them and loving them as they are. Trying to really see them.


Bluebonnet photo 2014

Bluebonnets and cacti can appear at the same time in Texas. Thankfully you get to choose what you see.

When faced with “cactus” moments in parenting, I try as soon as I can to get back to seeing the “bluebonnets”. Because they are there, too. And I’d rather delight in the bluebonnets than cuss the cactus.

I love bluebonnet season.

Wendy –

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