And though thou seemst a weedling wild --Years ago, I was a teacher. One year, I taught a Reception class in London, England (akin to kindergarten/first grade in North America). In the class next door was a little girl who was often angry, would often lash out, kick, scream, cry. The others avoided her. Nobody wanted to play with Lauren.
Wild and neglected like to me --
Thou still art dear to nature's child
And I will stoop to notice thee.
-- From To An Insignificant Flower Blooming in a Lonely Wild, in Flower Poems by John Clare
Then I found out that she was the youngest of several children. One day, her parents decided they would move, and that they would take all of their children, except for the youngest one...
And they left Lauren behind for the authorities to look after her. No wonder she was so angry.
One day, I spent a whole lunch hour in Lauren's classroom to give her teacher a break. Lauren was under a desk, and would not come out. I went and sat on the desk and ignored her. She reached her legs out and kicked me, over and over and over, as hard as she could. I took it, because I could, and because I knew she needed to kick someone, a big person, like the ones who had let her down. And when she came out, she hugged my legs and cried.
I often think of Lauren, and all of the other troubled/spirited/difficult children I've met throughout the years. I wonder where they are, how they'e fared, if anyone has ever taken the time to understand them. I want to see her, find out who she is now. She'd be nineteen years old now. A young woman.
Yesterday, I read this post by the mother of a girl named Boheme. She is a "spirited child," and while she is in no way in the same situation emotionally as Lauren was, all I could think was, "I want to meet her when she's grown up."
It's these difficult, often brushed aside people that attract me... complex minds that are often never explored, and make me wonder what goes on behind their eyes. I want to see who they become and who else they attract. Lauren was troubled, but she was... I dunno... there was a light to her... moonlight behind those big, brown eyes.
Perhaps this is why I have always preferred wildflowers over the hothouse flowers... the inexpensive carnations over the orchids, and the sunflowers over the roses. They last in a bouquet for ages, and each day I look at them, I notice something different. My mother knows this about me: and this is the bouquet she sent me for my birthday this weekend:
They remind me of Lauren. And now of Boheme... and of Jody, and Burak, Rebecca, Daniella, Lorena... all of those children I wish I knew now that they have grown up. I hope you are inspiring the world, all of you. You inspired me to keep looking behind the actions to the soul beneath.
Grow well, my flowers...