this is me, my husband, and our 6-year old son Saturday…
find a place for May Day paper flowers
that are stuffed in a plain, white envelope
with “Happy May neighbor” written
in blue colored pencil
make it down the lane
before they catch ya
and steal a kiss!
yeah, like that would happen-
but it is the tradition, to demand a smooch
of the dirt-under-the-fingernail, flower-giver
if one of our near-stranger neighbors asked my boy
for a kiss
he would hide behind me
and that would be
the end of his
mister sneaky, May Day
I don’t know of its origins or historical significance. Nor do I know how to go about making splendid 3-D flower crafts and accompanying fanciful doorknob baskets. But I do know the delight I felt, when as a child, when my mom told me of the first day in May when people used to gather flowers, place them in homemade baskets, hook the whole smelly mess on doors, knock and run like crazy.
It’s a secrety sort of thing. Just the type of activity that tickles the fancy of any kid. Ya mean I get to be sneaky and you are gonna help me? Yes! Count me in!
I first told my son of this tradition last year. We needed something fun and slightly daring to occupy our minds. It had been a really long and rough winter and the kiddo was missing his daddy something fierce. So, he plucked and pulled and tight-fisted a handful of western Oregon, fern-style bleeding hearts. With eyes wide, a heart all a-flutter, and little drops of kid adrenaline, he was ready for action.
Together we walked the 1/4 mile to our neighbors. Actually, I walked and held onto the back of his shirt to keep from leaving me in the dust as he tried to run ahead. Up the rocky hill. Finally we arrived at our destination and we snuck to the enclosed porch for our proper May Day flower fanfare. Just as we placed the newly-plucked posies, the neighbor’s big black canine exposed our mission. We ran. The squeak of the screen door and our neighbor’s sweet voice stopped us in the dirt road’s shadows. Bashfully we retreated back to the porch. My son was all giggles, not stifled one bit well. And I didn’t know about the kiss deal until this year, so we just went inside, sat on her porch and ate dried pears together. Oh yeah, we sniffed some flowers too.
This year, things are different. We have no bulbous, springtime flowers blooming at this rental house and there are no bleeding hearts to salvage from a peaceful life amid unfurling ferns. So, we just manufactured our own May Day flowers out of cut construction paper pieces and ridiculous amounts of gloppy glue-stick gunk. We made giddy, although quite scent-less, flowers at the kitchen table. Our plan is to find three nearby doors that look lonely. Then we will duct tape a white envelope, crammed with paper-n-glue posies, to it before ringing the bell and running.
Last night as the little fella got into bed he said, “Oh mom, do you think one of our new neighbors will put flowers on our doorstep and run? Oh mom, I hope they do. It would be so fun for them!” As soon as my husband left for his one-hour commute to work this morning, I remembered my sons question. I sent my husband a sneaky-filled email requesting that he stop at the store on his way home and pick up some real potted plants. With flowers in full bloom.
So when our boy is hunting down his dragon-slaying sword that somehow got misplaced (wink, wink), some fanciful, fun and really sneaky neighbor (who looks a lot like daddy) will put flowers on our door step, knock, and run!
When a child gets so excited for giving and doing and is happy while making hearts sing with construction paper and glue, don’t you think God’s heart is filled with the sweet scent of love?
* That lovely and highly artistic construction paper image up there was made by yours truly. Oh yes, please no pushing and shoving, you will all get a turn to see its beauty. Indeed the scratch-n-sniff function works on my computer. Sorry it doesn’t seem to work on yours. That’s okay, mine smells like glue anyway. 😉