The boy wandered aimlessly through the meadow, picking only the most beautiful flowers for his bouquet. His mother watched him from the blanket they had their picnic on, but he did his best to hide what he was doing. He wanted it to be a surprise. He especially loved the tall yellow ones and they made up the majority of his bouquet. His father called these “weeds”, but his mother called them “Dandy Lions”. He wasn't sure who was right, all he knew was he loved the way they looked and smelled, but he thought his mother's name for them sounded nicer. The boy bent down to pick up one he thought was especially pretty and added it to his bouquet. It was mostly a large bundle of yellow with speckles of red, white, and purple throughout it.
The boy picked a few small blue flowers he had never seen before as he wondered why his father would always cut away the pretty yellow dandy lions from the yard at their house and scolded him whenever he brought them home. His father hadn't been home in some time, his mother said that he had needed some time away. He cried to her that it was because of something he had done, even though she had told him it wasn't. He did his best to make his father happy but felt as though he always did more to upset him. He loved his father very much but always seemed to do something bad making him mad and would get punished. He never was upset with his father for punishing him, he trusted him and knew he would never do anything to hurt him unless he deserved it. He got upset because no matter how hard he tried to be good he always ended up doing the wrong thing, disappointing his father, he just must have been a bad kid. His mother told him this wasn't true, and as much as he loved her, he still struggled to believe her.
He carefully examined his bouquet after strategically placing the unique blue flowers within it, then after a few small adjustments delicately placed it between his body and the thing he got put on his arm the day his father left. The bouquet was perfect, beautiful and colorful, worthy of a queen. He turned to make his way back to his mother, fighting back pain as he did his best to conceal the bounty the meadow had bestowed upon him. He had seven of the purple ones his mother called morning glories, nine of the red ones he knew as tunias, seven of the new blue flowers, and more dandy lions than he had learned to count to, as well as a bunch of small white baby flowers that dotted the entire meadow. He was distracted by a bunny running through the tall grass, briefly wanting to give chase but reminded himself that he was on a mission then continued towards his mother. He did his best to cover her gift as he approached her hunched over his bundle with the stems in his hand. He waited for her to ask what he had before displaying his offering and yelling surprise. The smile that stretched across her face verifying for him that he had done well.
The woman fought back tears as her son shouted surprise and displayed a beautiful bouquet of flowers to her. A smile broke across her face as she took them from him with a thank you and breathed them in deeply. Then after setting them into the basket that had contained their picnic kissed him on the cheek and carefully pulled him in for a hug, telling him she loved him as she did. The cast on his arm and bruise under his eye reassured her that she was doing the right thing having her husband arrested and restricted to access to their home. She had been struggling with hating herself for it, and her son's questions about where his father was only made it harder. She didn't have the heart to tell him what was really going on, and simply told him that his father needed some time away. She hadn't spoken to her lawyer about filing for divorce yet, she would get to that soon, but the restraining order was in place for the time being. As much as her and her son loved him, he would always love the drugs more. She sat down on the picnic blanket with her son, holding him tightly to her and smothering the top of his head with kisses. It had been easy to ignore her husband's issues prior to the birth of her son, but back then the worst she may have dealt with was the occasional missing money from their account or the rare call from the jailhouse for bail. He hardly ever had become violent with her, and those times were usually because she had pushed him too far. Now however she had her son to think of, and far too often now he had become violent with him, almost always over nothing at all. She watched the sun beginning to drop closer to the horizon, she knew they should begin packing up soon to leave, but the moment felt too perfect to her. Then as she began to muster up the will power to stand up her son looked up at her to say “mommy, I love you”, and all thoughts of going home left her mind. She sat holding her son while they watched the sun set together, talking about whatever he decided he wanted to talk about, determined to hold on to this moment for as long as she could.