LP is a typical little girl. She sees the prettiness in the world, the beauty in every single thing and she loves nothing more than wearing a dress she can twirl in and singing songs from Disney movies. She is so innocent, so sweet and so emotional that in a way I hope that she never has to grow up and learn the harsh realities of life and the world that we live in.
Each week we buy a bunch of £1 daffodils from the supermarket and every so often we buy tulips instead – at £3 they are a bit of a splurge but we all get cheered up by their pretty colours sitting on the side. Each week LP helps me to put the flowers in a vase and she’ll check each day to see if they have started to open yet, getting excited when she can see the flowers in full bloom.
The next few days LP talks about the flowers often, tells us how beautiful they are and says often how she doesn’t want the flowers to die. Each week I explain that flowers start to die the moment they are picked and we are just enjoying their beauty until they start to fade.
Each week she watches those flowers open, she marvels at their beauty and then she watches as they fade. At first this made her sad, seeing them wilt and shrivel but as the weeks have gone by she is used to this process. When the flowers have finally died she tells me that they need to go on the compost and we need to get new flowers. Then the cycle starts again.
But over the last couple of weeks LP, Little Man and I have spent time in the garden. I have been wedding our vegetable patch and pulling up dandelions which LP has insisted that we save, picking the dandelion flowers and putting them in a cup of water.
One day, though, when we were gardening and LP was saving each of the dandelions she told me she didn’t want them to die, that she wanted them to live forever and I had to explain that just like the daffodils the dandelions also start to die the minute they are picked and we put them in water to preserve their beauty and to make them last just a little longer.
At this point LP cried. She cried because she had picked a dandelion and in doing so it would now die. She cried that she couldn’t save it and she cried that the dandelion, so beautiful in her eyes, would not live forever.
I explained to LP that, just like other living things, flowers had a lifecycle. The dandelion would flower and then it would turn into seeds which would get blown everywhere, the remaining plant would wilt and eventually die, even if she hadn’t picked it.
This didn’t make LP much happier. She was still sad and she still wished that flowers would last forever. We have only had to discuss death once properly before, when our cat Luke died, but LP is just suddenly so aware of things dying.
LP is such an emotional and sensitive soul. She cares about the world, sees the beauty in it and really does think that each day is the best day ever. It’s a shame that so soon she is worrying about things dying but at least she is also learning about her impact on the world, the consequences of her actions and the fact that no living thing will last forever.