Life Lessons From A Flower

Posted: June 2, 2018

The poet talks about how a flower taught her that it is ok for her son to be different.

As I strolled through the stretches one day

Of a botanical garden, I found suddenly on my way




That unique bunch with its orange and red

Spiked flowers almost towering over my head

And I was reminded of how years ago

We had seen these flowers in a horticulture show.

You were in second grade, if my memory serves me right

Fascinated more by the name than the sight.

‘Red hot poker’ was a beautiful flower, you proclaimed

We snapped a photograph, and of course you named

It your favorite flower, and wrote its name meticulously

For your homework; you spelt out ‘Kniphofia’ carefully

You were so excited, but even when I was apprehensive

I wished you had liked a more conventional alternative

I hate to remember maternal instinct was on target

You returned from school next day, quite upset

For writing something strange you were derided

No one could understand why you had decided

To name a flower that hardly looked like one

To be your favorite, they did not know, my son

Of this plant, in ignorance, they made fun

Of you- over the years, you displayed

Non-conformity to tradition in many different ways

Despite my misgivings, I tried to encourage you

To follow your heart, knowing that was the right thing to do..

**

Now you live far away and meet me

To my great chagrin, only infrequently

You are wildly successful in your profession

That is unconventional- you followed your passion

Seeing the ‘red hot poker’ today sent me down memory lane

To that first instance when you had suffered pain

For being different in a society that conformity values

That gives you few options from which to choose

I am proud of who you are, and of course

With the flower for a picture I pose

And send it to you instantly, subtexting “Remember?”

You promptly reply, exclaiming ‘Red Hot Poker’!

And then, “It’s still my favorite, and I know, yours too”

I smile to myself, yes, that is true

If not for this flower I might not have realized

My son’s true potential, I might not have advised

Him to stick to his ideas that were different

This flower made me a better parent.

Published here earlier.

Image via Pixabay

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I am a woman, a physician, a mother and an aspiring writer rolled into one.

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