Wow-wah! For those who are unsure of the meaning of that word, I offer a short story. As anyone with a toddler can testify to, when your child begins to talk, there are big variations to a word that only they can pronounce, and oftentimes, only you know what they mean. If they said this word to another person, they’d have no idea what was just said. Most toddlers start with the word Mama or Dada, but when they venture to new words, it can be quite fun! And that, my friends, is Wow-wah.

Wow-wah was my oldest daughter’s (now 14) first word outside of Mama and Dada. My wife and I typically take walks in the evening and back when Eliana was young, we’d put her in her stroller and away we’d go. We live out in the country surrounded by farmland, so our walks end up along back roads, specifically, unmowed back roads. And around this time of year, a specific weed begins to overtake the ditch. It’s not an overly big weed…it’s just that there’s so much of it…so much of it that everyone wants to eliminate it, but yet it runs rampant along unmowed roads. And about this time of year, it begins to flower. The flower is a beautiful shade of purple…and purple is my daughter’s favorite color. As we walked along the road those many years ago, she’d point and giggle as she joyfully saw her favorite color and the most beautiful Wow-wah (flower) she’d ever seen.

These weeds continue to pervade the roadsides. Many think they’re annoying and want to mow or spray them with weed killer. Not me. I love them. The radiant purple they cast alongside the road brings a smile to my face. They light up my path to the office. And they give me fun memories of my daughter; her beautiful smiling face, her carefree laughs on walks taken long ago, her love of the color purple, and the way she can turn a weed into something to be admired. Her kind heart reminds me to look at the world through a different lens. To find joy and beauty in things that most people pass by.

We can learn a lesson from the Wow-wah. We can appreciate the small things in life. Don’t let weeds get you down. Simply change your attitude, your mindset, your perspective…they may turn out to be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen…


{Author’s Note: This post first appeared on July 28, 2020}