In Which Flowers Fragrances are Flagrantly Appreciated

I forget how long I’ve been thinking about this strip, or exactly when I sat down and wrote out the script for it. It’s been a while. Maybe it goes without saying, but this is based (albeit somewhat loosely) on actual events. My son was maybe two or three years old, and I had just come home from work. I forget the exact circumstances, but he was acting squirrelly after being inside for most of the day. To give his mother a break and an opportunity to finish making dinner I took him with me for a walk around the neighborhood. We had been walking for a little bit, when he decided he wanted to stop and smell the flowers. By that I mean all of them. At every house we had where flowers were available to smell. I’d imagine this isn’t the case in every neighborhood, but where we live nearly everyone has flowers of some kind growing in their yards. It’s a way to make the yard look nice and reduce the amount of grass you have to water. If you find yourself out for a walk with a tiny person who wants to smell¬†all the flowers,¬†brace yourself. The walk is probably going to take a while.

After about ten minutes of this I was starting to get impatient. It’s been a while, so I’m a little hazy on specifics, but I think it had been a long day at work. Whatever the actual circumstances, I know I was tired, I was hungry, and there was a tiny person sniffing flowers preventing me from resting and eating. As one does I tried to hurry my son along, telling him we needed to go home because mommy was cooking dinner, and we needed to go eat with mommy and his sister. Not to be diverted from his mission to thoroughly smell all the flowers in our neighborhood he looked at me and said with a smile, “smell the flowers daddy.”

I had to stop at that. Here’s the thing. I enjoy being active and having things to do, which is (in part) how this comic strip and blog came about. I also have general anxiety which can make it tough for me to hold still for very long. For a variety of reasons I am not naturally inclined to “stop and smell the roses.” However, when your two-year-old (or so) son looks at you and tells you in no uncertain terms to “smell the flowers, daddy,” you have to stop. Children are profoundly uncomplicated, and in an uncomplicated way can be profound. All he wanted me to do was bend down and smell the flowers with him, but without trying he did something quite a bit more. He reminded me that I don’t need to constantly be worried about what comes next (which is kind of a side effect of what I do professionally), and that I can let go of all that and just live in the moment. I didn’t bend down next to him to smell the flowers, but I stopped to smell the roses all the same.