Friday, March 30, 2012

Narcissus - all in the eye of the beholder

I didn't know much about daffodils until I became a florist.  The kind Persian man who trained me on the business in a 40hour work week mentioned that daffodils are the vanity flower.  I think I liked daffodils more prior to learning that tid bit of knowledge.  I had a strong aversion to narcissism back then- dealing with a doozey of a narcissist on a daily basis (still dealing, in fact, but with less frequency and much more distance).
In Greek Mythology Narcissus became so obsessed with seeing his own reflection, as he knelt at a pool of water, he fell in and drowned and this flower grew where he had died.  Another version states Narcissus starved to death from sitting at the pool edge transfixed by his reflection.  Again, the flower grew where he had died.  In the west, the flower is a symbol of vanity; however, in Chinese culture, the daffodil can symbolize wealth and good fortune- especially when blooming on Chinese New Year.
I walked into my mom's house yesterday to pick my kids up after work and this gorgeous display of daffodils quickly grabbed my attention.  The vibrant yellow and blue really popped against the stark white table cloth.  "Did you arrange those?" I questioned.  Indeed, she had.  She used to plop flowers in a vase and wait for me to arrange them.  I've explained heights and placement while arranging and I think she's getting it.  I was so proud.
For this simple arrangement, the vase is everything.  She chose a thin rectangular vase with rounded edges.  She placed the blue marble rocks perfectly to help anchor the flowers.  I adjusted one flower in the center and then snapped a few photos with my phone.  I think she was rather surprised to receive my praise.  She steered the conversation to say that my oldest brother (who is my half brother from my dad) and I get our art talent from my dad.  I laughed at her, "No we don't.  Just because the two of us are artistic, doesn't mean the common denominator is Dad.  I've never seen Dad do anything artistic."  My oldest brother's grandmother on his mother's side of the family is an artist.
It has only been within the last year or so that I have made the connection that many of my talents come from my mother.  As she tours guests around her house and shows them her quilts, purses,  baskets, doll clothes and other sewing projects, I've heard friends/relatives/neighbors comment, "Now I see where Carrie gets it from..."  Yes, I am the artistic one in the family, but I reminded my mom that she had a gift shop for nearly 30 years and was always creating wonderful displays.  Perhaps she thinks of artistry as being able to draw or paint.  I told her she just uses a different medium:  fabric.

My mom is the complete opposite of Narcissus.  Sometimes it can be difficult to see our own reflections and strengths and talents and fully appreciate all that we are.  Parents, teachers, coaches, etc. help build us up as kids and we do the same for our kids...but then what?  Who continues to build us up as we get older?  Take the time to build someone up.  You might help influence a whole new perspective in someone's life.

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