Get your boxing gloves out. It's Bluebonnet time.

Well, shoot. It's that time of year again and I haven't done any preparation. The time of year when all mothers of Texas kids, especially younger Texas kids, get all in a tizzy. Some of us anticipate when this moment will hit and others don't realize the moment has hit until they are sitting at a red light.

That moment?


Lawduhmercy, grab your cameras! Plop Junior down in some bluebonnets and snap away before those bluebonnets up and die and you look like a neglectful parent.

(The first person to post their children's photos in the bluebonnets on Facebook is typically the first person who gets their Christmas trees up.)

The painful reality that yet another bluebonnet season was going to pass me by hit me while I was at a red light yesterday. I casually looked to my right and dern it if those blue state flowers weren't staring holes right through me.

"Gah, bluebonnets! I see you! Yes, I forgot about you again! You'd think a state flower would be a little more understanding."

Honestly, I think the bluebonnets wish we'd pick another state flower.

"Belle, get ready because I see a young toddler boy on his way to sit near us."

"Oh, Howard, I don't think so. Looks like he's headed over there to Charlie and Bonnie's neighborhood. I sure am going to miss those two. Oh, Bonnie. Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie."

"Nope, he's waddling our way, Belle. His mother is panicking. Look at her freaking out over where he sits. She's thinking that other lady is about to steal her spot. I'll tell you where both of your kids should sit, ladies! Back in their car seats! Stop stepping on my friends! Why can't they just pick another 'state flower' already? Haven't we done our duty long enough? What's wrong with a dandelion? Why can't they sit in a patch of dang dandelions, for goodness sakes?! Or how about a daisy? A buttercup? A...  Belle? BELLE!!!!!!!"

Yep, Belle's a goner.

Timmy's diapered butt killed her.

Toddlers and Texas children far and wide kill Belles and Howards left and right during bluebonnet season, which is very short-lived. It's amazing how many bluebonnets Texas butts can snuff out in such a short time. And we'll snuff out those flowers, boy. We don't care. We'll act all self-righteous when we see someone pick a bluebonnet (which, it turns out, is not really illegal...I don't think), but we'll plop our rear in patch of them in no time flat.

"What??? You picked a bluebonnet????? THAT'S OUR STATE FLOWER!! Forget the bank robbery! Get this lady!! Call Rick Perry and get her to the front of Death Row!"

I'm not even kidding.

It happens every year that I will want to take the boys' pictures in the flowers. I'll want one of those fancy pictures I see all over Facebook. The one that makes me look like a loving and playful and kind mother. (Bluebonnet pictures are up there with the rodeo and floatin' the river as a Texas mom's duty.) The thing is, I use my phone as my camera because I'm lame. I have "real" cameras, but they aren't as real as other people's real cameras and those are the cameras taking all the fancy pictures that go on Facebook. By the time it all clicks that I might want to ask someone with a real real camera to take the boys' pictures in the flowers, THEY'VE VANISHED. They've packed up and left town.

A couple of years ago, I decided I'd be my own photographer. I could do this thing! I drug the boys to a hill not too far away and anticipated a sea of blue to photograph. I was going to finally be eligible for that Super Texas Mom award. Wouldn't you know it that when we arrived that sea of blue was tainted by butt prints all over the prairie? Belles and Howards were all smushed and lifeless. I had to try to situate my boys at such an absolutely perfect angle that it looked like the 2 living bluebonnets equaled the 4 million that were on that hillside less than 24 hours ago.

"Smile, boys! Come on, smile! Now, don't turn your head that way. It makes it obvious that we're working with only 2 bluebonnets here. *MAKE YOUR MOTHER LOOK KIND OR I'LL PUT YOU IN TIME OUT!!!!!!!! MAKE ME LOOK KIND, DANG IT!!!"

*I didn't really say that out loud.

Those bluebonnets can bring out the ugly in people.

So, if you are ever in Texas around March and April, beware for screeching cars at the roadside. We'll stop anywhere if we spot a patch of blue. Parents who care deeply about 5-point harnesses will shove little Billy Jo right into a median surrounded by cars zipping by at 90 miles per hour for that coveted picture.

"Now, smile, Billy! That 18-wheeler ain't gonna hurt you!" *tries to remove bits of rubber tire that just flew into her teeth* "Smile, son!"

We are super serious about the bluebonnets 'round here. There's even a site dedicated to bluebonnet sightings. There are probably many like it. They're like UFOs or something. For goodness sakes.

After all of this writing and talking about the state flower, I'm really tempted to take my boys to that red light I was at yesterday near the old barbecue restaurant and busy intersection for a snapshot. I'll have them stand amidst the 10 bluebonnets scattered among the ant hills and weeds and then ask them to smile.

I bet no one will be competing for that spot.

But I'll take my boxing gloves, just in case.