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Learning to Live Like a… Dandelion!

Close up of a Dandelion.  Going to Graceland Photography, copyright 2018.My dad lives five hours away from me. And I just felt him roll his eyes at the title of this post.

He hates dandelions, and accuses them of ruining his yard. When I was younger he’d spend countless amounts of time spraying them with RoundUp. Then he realized that they were multiplying despite his efforts, so he became more determined. On one particular high stress day, he came home from church and spotted a few dandelions in his freshly mowed yard. It was just more than he could handle that day. He grabbed his red bucket, weed popper, and stomped off into the yard to eradicate these poor flowers, still wearing his Sunday suit! Mom and I tried (and failed) not to snort at the sight of him that day.

I, on the other hand, love dandelions– and not, as my dad thinks, just because they annoy him. I’ve always loved them. In fact, if I ever get another tattoo, a dandelion would be a top contender. They just strike me as light and airy and joyful, somehow. Not that flowers particularly have a lot of stress or anything, but they feel even more carefree than any of the other flowers– as if their sole work is to dance with the wind. And they don’t really care what I, or you, or my dandelion hating dad (or your dandelion hating dad) thinks about how they do their work or where they spring up. They just do their thing.

If flowers could, you know, have dreams– I suspect theirs would be to take over our yards, and have a joyful community of dancing dandelions. The thing I think I love most about dandelions, is that they’re persistent and tenacious, and will not let anyone or anything stomp on their dream… or at least not without a whole lot of effort. And usually the dandelions still win– even if it takes them a while. They always come back.

When I think about dreams and goals, particularly those we have for our bodies, I realize most of us (often including me) aren’t nearly this determined. So many things seek to mow us down or stomp on our dreams or blow our willpower right into the wind, and we let them. A temper fit pitching body, too many time commitments, too few resources… I could name 1000 things. Eventually, we just sneak off into a corner of our life, and wriggle into a bigger dress size, and slink into yet another doctor’s office– and tell ourselves a giant lie: that it has to be this way.

What is it you want? To see your kids finally grow up into the people they were meant to be? To be independent and strong and free as you age? To get off all your medications? To finally feel comfortable in your skin? Or to rock your bathing suit on this year’s family trip?

Whatever it is, do You the Dandelion Way. Do not settle for anything less than your dream. And if you can’t remember what your dream was, then you just stick your face up to the sunshine, square your shoulders, and pick out a new dream.

I’d love nothing more than to have someone look at me (and you!), and say “She is like a darned dandelion. She just keeps showing up.”

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