A farmers’ market experience is one close to the heart of many Californians. An opportunity to stroll through dozens of open tents, displaying a plethora of fruits and vegetables, flowers and other such delights. The produce is as fresh as one could dream of, with farmers standing by each case of overflowing produce with pride.
So, when I received an email from Chaim Boruch’s teacher saying that the class would be going on a trip to a farmers’ market, I could not contain my excitement. I read further, following instructions to sign the attached consent form. And then, before I clicked reply, I noticed a little note suggesting that our children could bring money on their trip and a list of desired produce to purchase.
With a huge smile, I reminisced about my childhood field trip days and how exciting they were, packed with a carefree spirit and a day of exploring. I excitedly pulled Chaim Boruch close to me, and we sat together as I read him the email. I asked him if he would like to go, and he nodded “yes” with mirrored enthusiasm!
All of a sudden, I realized that this was an incredible opportunity for him to do something tangible that could make him feel mature and responsible.
Within minutes, I gathered all of Chaim Boruch’s siblings and asked them to listen to something very exciting that Chaim Boruch had planned. I told them that their big brother will be going on a field trip to a farmers’ market. And then, I turned to Chaim Boruch and asked him if he would please go shopping for the family and buy each of them something they would like.
And so began the list of love.
With each little smiling face, shouts of delight and giggles filled the room as they chose their favorite fruit or vegetable to be added to the list, right next to their name. This continued for a few minutes, and then everyone scrambled back to their homework and games.
Chaim Boruch seemed very proud of the task that lay in front of him. I gave him a hug and squeezed his fragile shoulders.
I looked at him and asked if he could buy something for me, too. He nodded even stronger and with a huge grin said “ahhhhhh,” voicing his strong agreement.
I asked him if he would please choose some flowers for me for Shabbat. And he nodded with excitement.
That night I printed out his shopping list and attached it to a mini clipboard, tucked it into a brown paper bag with a handle and a $20 bill. I went to sleep, full of anticipation for the next day.
I don’t think anything could have prepared me for what happened when he came home from school.
My husband helped him off the little yellow school bus, and as I headed towards the front door, my special child literally ran through the entry way with a beautiful bouquet of flowers for me, with the most magnificent grin and the cutest flushed cheeks I have ever seen.
Tears filled my eyes as he thrust the bouquet into my arms and leaned in for a hug. I couldn’t get the words out and just held him tight.
My child bought me flowers . . . my very own special-needs son whose days are full of challenge bought me a gift I could only have dreamed of. And there we stood together, admiring his choice of blossoms, while I thanked him from the depths of my heart.
I have had many gifts of flowers for Shabbat in my lifetime. I have adorned our white pristine table with shining silver candlesticks and without a doubt, I have set the table with hundreds of arrangements of the most exquisite rare flowers, of hues I never knew existed, yet this bouquet surpassed them all.
Each petal, each stem, each leaf, each blossom was testimony to me of the gift G‑d has given each of us, to bloom where we are planted.
To grow despite challenge, to rejoice despite heartache, and to trust in G‑d and believe in His ways, despite adversity.
Chaim Boruch’s life is just that.
And so, hand in hand, we set the Shabbat table together, stepping back in awe, mother and son.
A beautiful moment and reminder to bloom where you are planted.