“It’s beautiful,” he said. I paused, trying to comprehend the words of my ten year old son, contemplating if I had heard him correctly. Again he said it, this time a bit more mumbled and quiet, but the words that floated by my ears were as ephemeral as I had imagined. 

“It’s beautiful,” he said as we stood peering at the lovely deep pink poppy. It had flown out from his mind and was off his lips before he had time to stop himself, a typical ten year old that seeks ways to work jargon into most conversations, particularly with his momma.

He’s beautiful, I thought. The concept of this type of loveliness was not recognized by me until many years later; grasping beautiful is a milestone that derives from a mind and heart that have witnessed and experienced strife. While his childhood has been generally idyllic, it has not been all pb&j’s and nap time. No, at three he watched his mother leave again and again for doctor’s visits and then virtually sleep a summer away with monthly chemo. The past year he has learned to be a nurturing and responsible big brother and has suffered with the fear and sadness surrounding his youngest sibling, nearing three and still unable to speak.

“It’s beautiful,” I said this time. Not just the singular poppy but the world that produces such loveliness in flowers and the little boys who mimic the simple awe with their own words, the ones that are flung to the surface without careful deliberation but instead with amazing ease.

“You’re beautiful,” I said. And then he smiled and I wondered if he knew.

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