I sat with my grandson and blew on dandelions watching the white fluffy seeds fly away. I wondered what he wished for, and soaked in the joy of that moment. This is a memory, a standout, that will be stored in my mind and come back to me anew each time I see a dandelion and pick it up to make another wish. I’ve no doubt that there will be dozens and dozens more dandelions and more wishes with grandchildren, including the dandelions and wishes I make by myself. The significance of that moment is two-fold. I did not make a wish in that moment, rather I blew away fear and sorrow that will never return to me again. I took something back for myself, my power and my joy. Someone took those things away from me many years ago. I had the power to choose this time, so I chose joy.
At age five, I sat on the grass with other neighborhood children, dandelions ready. I felt anticipation, excitement of the magic that was about to happen. We were about to make our wishes. He grabbed my dandelion and shoved it in my mouth, forcing me to eat it. This memory came back to me as a flashback in the midst of a group of people who were talking about having wish parties with dandelions. I felt the fibers in my mouth, tasted the bitterness. I felt the shock, defeat, sorrow, and resigned fear. I became that little girl again, who only wanted to make a wish and be happy.
He was a fifteen year old family friend who had raped me, orally sodomized me, the previous year. I tried to stay away from him. I was unaware of his presence until he grabbed my hand and forced the dandelion into my mouth, just as he had forced himself into my mouth the year before. Why couldn’t he leave me alone? I still don’t know. I know it wasn’t my fault. Why predators choose their victims is of no consequence. Yet the question continues to nag at me. I need to understand.
I had a choice to make. I could live in a world full of dandelions and fear them, or I could take the joy back. When the opportunity came for me to teach my three-year old grandson about dandelions, wishes, and joy, I seized it. I didn’t hesitate. I took my dandelion and I blew away the pain and sorrow. His eyes reflected my joy as he watched the fluffy seeds fly away with awe and wonder at the magical dandelion. He will never know exactly what we shared that day, but I’m eternally grateful that I had the privilege of spending that time and sharing that magic with him.