The first days of May bring back childhood memories of scissors snipping and piles of construction paper scraps. The excitement of creating woven paper baskets and simple cones, carefully decorated with crayons, handles attached with tiny bits of tape. May baskets!

We filled them with wild flowers, lilacs, little drawings, a hard candy or two. Perhaps we were set into motion with a suggestion by a teacher, my mother, or an elderly neighbor. I don’t remember. But the idea of an anonymous gift given for the pure joy of giving first found a home in my heart as a young child.

I can picture those little baskets and how we ran from door to door attaching them to the doorknobs of neighbors known and unknown, never seeing the surprised faces, or the candies unwrapped, or the jelly jar flower arrangements, except in our imaginations. I felt washed in pure joy, and right now can smell the fragrant moist earth and lilacs that surrounded my neighborhood and me on those early spring days.

Today I am given many such joyous gifts. Lucky me, I have children of all ages in my life!

A four-year-old moves my face with her gentle hands to be even closer to her as she shares a story.

A teen after our Improv Coffeehouse, holds on to me as the big group hug disperses and says “I’m never letting go!”

A toddler smiles and announces, “I’m here Oowin.”

A new face at our booth at a science event looks up from her experiments with colored water, oil, vinegar and baking soda to say, “My dad decides what I can do with things like this at home. You let me decide all on my own. This is REALLY fun!”

I enjoy a wild ride on the back of a trike driven by a five-year-old after he commands me to “Get on the back, Susahn, I want to give you a ride!”

Washing dishes, a group of teen girls and boys sing together and soak each other with soap bubbles.

Happy May! Open your eyes and gather up the many little baskets in your midst!

© Susan Caruso and Sunflower Creative Arts, 2011
Photos © Haidor Truu, 2011