"I don't want to be a flower," I told my mom as I slid into the station wagon's passenger seat. "I want to be a tree."
My mom smiled and her eyes flashed as she looked at me. "What do you mean?"
That day in my third grade class, Mrs. Perkins had told me I could be a flower.
The specifications of why I could be a flower now escape me. I think it involved something about being pretty or smart or really standing out. Standing out--like a flower? Flowers never struck me as really standing out.
"But I wanna be a tree."
"But flowers are prettier."
I let myself go labeled as a flower, if just briefly, and sat thinking seriously about the foliage matter at hand for the rest of the day. It wasn't until this moment pulling away from Lebanon's Louisa Wright Elementary that I voiced it again.
My mom was quiet and then looked at me as we sat at the stop sign by IGA. She reached her hand around me, running her fingers through my hair. "There's no reason you can't be a tree," she told me.
She was right. There wasn't a reason I couldn't be a tree, if I wanted. Flowers were pretty, sure, but that wasn't for me... to stand around, looking pretty or just doing what everybody else in the grass was doing.
And I guess I never have.