Tulips and Daffodils

Time is such a funny thing. Sometimes it passes so quickly that things that happened years ago feel like they were yesterday. Other times, it ticks away so slowly that it’s almost painful.

As I sit here at my desk writing, I find it hard to believe that we have lived in Colorado for over ten years. That is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere in my life! Not only that, we’ve been in this same house for almost all of that ten years.

I look back at February 2010 and it doesn’t seem all that long ago. Yes the kids were little – Rylie was five and Tanner was three. We moved purposefully at that stage of their lives. Having moved every few years of my life, I was open and excited for the adventure of a cross-country move, but I was also adamant that we do it while they were young. I wanted my children to have an opportunity to grow up and say, “He’s been my friend since second grade.”

Yes – ten years have past and that means Tanner is a teenager. When we moved here, he was just starting preschool. Yes – Rylie would have been a sophomore in high school and I’m sure she would have loved it. But still – ten years… how does that happen?!?

A few years after we moved into this house, I took a little mini-vacation to visit my sister in Washington D.C. for the Cherry Blossom 10k. It was the first time I’d ever done a vacation or trip on my own as an adult.

While Ziggy and I would often get away for an anniversary weekend, it was weird to leave the kids and Ziggy behind. It was a great opportunity to bond with my sister and lay groundwork for our relationship as adults. Caitlyn and I are almost nine years apart and this was the first chance we had to hang out solo in our adult years. We had a grand time planned complete with sightseeing, eating at fun and weird restaurants, and running a 10k in 80s inspired outfits.

Meanwhile, at home, my family had some fun of their own. This was the first time that Ziggy was home for an extended period of time as a single parent, and I think they all looked forward to getting a break from Mom and her ultra-planned out nature.

I’m pretty positive that most meals were take-out. Although Ziggy loves to cook, he’s always easily convinced to go out to eat, a trait that both kids enjoy(ed) very much. I’m sure they watched a lot of t.v. and remembered to brush their teeth at least 50% of the time.

They also spent time outside, enjoying the spring weather that pops in and out during the month of April in Colorado. Both Rylie and Tanner loved getting outside. They’d often be found playing some sort of superhero game that invovled jumping on the trampoline while wielding some sort of ‘weapon’ or wearing a goofy outfit. They could also be found out front, creating storylines to act out that involved dragging various items out of the garage as props.

One day while I was in D.C., our neighbor, who worked at Home Depot, brought home a bag of various bulbs to plant. He loves our kids and treats them as his own grandchildren. So of course these bulbs became a project – a surprise “for mum”. (Our neighbor is Australian).

When I arrived home, the kids were so excited to show me the flowers they’d planted. Daffodils are one of my favorite flowers and they knew that. So the fact that they’d planted daffodils made them both quite proud.

I’m still a little unclear on how it all went down, and maybe that’s part of the passage of time, but it is also because I wasn’t here to be part of it. There were definitely blooming daffodils and tulips on the tour, but I distinctly remember Rylie telling me how they’d dug holes and planted bulbs for hours. I even remember her giving me a number of bulbs – although that detail has since escaped. Clearly they must’ve done a mix of regular bulbs and bulbs that were already flowering.

I loved seeing their joy as they toured me around the front yard and showed me all of the places they’d planted bulbs. The challenge with both daffodils and tulips is that they are kind of like avocados and bananas – they’re perfect for just about .5 minutes. The kids were disappointed when their flowers seemed to ‘disappear’ after a few short weeks.

That was when I got to share the magic of bulbs with them. I told them that we would get to watch with anticipation each spring to see their hard work reappear as the glory of green sprouts and then beautiful yellow trumpets and red and pink bowls.

The following spring, Rylie – my girl who remembered details around time – was eager to begin checking for signs of life. She’d check nearly every day. Eventually, she’d come running in to report that the rolled leaves of a set of tulips were making their way through the earth. Or that the pointy leaves of our daffodils were stretching towards the sky.

Tulip leaves making their entrance.
This year’s tulips are starting to show up.

That first year only a few of the bulbs showed signs of life. The green leaves pushed forth, but they never bloomed. I remember Rylie’s disappointment and I told her that perhaps they just needed more time. Perhaps they’d bloom the following year.

She repeated the process the following year. This time, more greenery appeared and some of the tulips bloomed. Each year, she’d wait expectantly. Each year she was rewarded by the sight of the flowers striving for growth. Each year, we were both excited by the sight of the leaves and few blooms, yet saddened that the daffodils never seemed to bloom and many of the tulips didn’t take as well.

I still am not sure what happened to all of those flowers. One spring we decided that perhaps many of the bulbs were planted upside down. That can happen when young and excited hands plant them. Perhaps they tried each year to bloom, but were facing the wrong direction. Or perhaps it was that they were planted in the spring instead of the fall and that disrupted their cycles. Or perhaps they just weren’t meant to bloom.

Life is kind of like that. We make plans, we plant, we seek to grow. Sometimes it turns out as planned. Other times only some of what we planned and planted takes root. As frustrating as that can be, I’m encouraged by the tulip and daffodil greens that do show up each spring. I look forward to watching and seeing which ones decide to bloom each year.

It does seem with the passage of time that more of them are maturing. More of them are blooming. Much like my own children and even me. Each year, we watched Rylie and Tanner change. They grew more independent and full of their own ideas. While I no longer get to see Rylie bloom, I treasure two things.

First, I do get to watch and be alongside Tanner as he grows and his roots become stronger and more firmly rooted. I am reminded of the tulips and daffodils when there are times that his growth doesn’t seem in line with my plan. I’m reminded that when I wait, when I channel Rylie’s youthful expectancy, I can be surprised with each passing season at the way that Tanner does bloom – just sometimes on a different schedule.

Second, although I don’t get to see Rylie bloom into a young adult, I get to watch her legacy continue to grow. To grow within me and the way I have been challenged to embrace some of her best qualities. To grow within the community as we work together to be more kind, more aware and more plugged in.

Lately, when I pull in my driveway and see the shoots of tulips and daffodils working their way through the ground, I’m in awe of how quickly ten years has gone. It seems as though my tour of the front yard bulb planting was just yesterday, yet this is my eighth spring of expectant watching.

Yes there are moments I wish I could make go faster. And there are moments I wish I could freeze – that’s the funny thing about time. In a way, those tulip and daffodil shoots are a way of both freezing time and watching it progress. We pause time and remember the kids planting flowers and Rylie watching for them each spring. We watch it progress and then take time to notice as one more flower blooms and one more thing changes in our own lives.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *