After hearing about "Leo the Late Bloomer" I had to give it a read. It was a lovely story about a tiger who was not doing all the things his peers were doing. He couldn't read or write. He was a messy eater. And Leo's father worried. Leo's mother advised, "Just wait." Sure enough, left to learn and play and grow, Leo, in his own time, learned to read and write and eat without being too messy.
Teachers, doctors and parents often use flower metaphors to describe children coming of age. They blossom, bloom, and grow. Children are seeds in a garden, requiring some the right amount of care in order to grow. They cannot be rushed. A lover of all things outdoors, I like these metaphors.
Many years ago my friend took me for a tour of his garden. I marveled. I am not a gardener and I was surprised that he was. I admired as he pointed out the potatoes coming up just beneath the soil and the strawberries hiding beneath their own leaves. All these beautiful things he had cultivated. Then I asked what the beautiful flower was. He seemed embarrassed to tell me it was an onion and that it should not have gotten to bloom. But he was a new father and in those mid-summer days the garden was taking care of itself more than usual.
I smelled it and should not have been surprised that it smelled like an onion and not a rose. Still, it was breath-taking and I had to take a picture. This is the picture that came to my mind when I read "Leo." The little stinkers who seem like they will never be ready to learn to go to the bathroom themselves? Someday they will. Learn to write? Of course. Read? Indubitably. Count? Do science? Absolutely. You just have to wait and watch. Even the onions blossom.