“Mama! The flowers are here!!!!!! The flowers are heeeeeere!!!”
My lips drew into a smile as I peeked around the corner to see daffodils. Bright, yellow and unapologetically bold. Taking me back to the day he came to the door with them in hand.
It was my first Mother’s Day with a baby in my arms. And I recall looking skeptically at him and asking, “What am I supposed to do with those, Daddy?”
He chuckled and answered, “Well, plant them, of course!”
I sighed a sigh I wish now that I hadn’t and continued with a “But really, Dad? Flowers have never been my thing. Dried out and dead will forever be my plant MO.”
And yet he kept insisting, “But these come back. Every year, they will come back to remind you of your very first Mother’s Day.” So I laughed in disbelief and watched while he went to work.
How I wish I could have frozen that moment in time.
The dirt beneath his fingernails. The sweat he wiped away with a white handkerchief. The sweet way his glasses would slip down to the tip of his nose.
How. I. Wish.
But time passed, the flowers came and went again and again and again and then in a blink, he was gone.
I had almost forgotten about them until a few days before my first birthday without him.
The sun was scorching and the kids were bored so I wrangled our very lame sprinkler to the backyard in hopes it would stop the whines and woes of nothing to do. Frankly, I would have been psyched at a mere 30 minutes of happiness if only for the chance to go to the bathroom uninterrupted. Because sweet heavens, the struggle is just so very real.
But as I walked back to the front yard, something yellow caught my eye…
My daddy’s daffodils.
Bright, beautiful and so unapologetically bold that I could do nothing but sob uncontrollably. It was as though in all the madness and the tangled emotions of my first birthday and Father’s Day without him, he was saying, “I’m here, Sara Bear. I’m here.”
It was there, sobbing on my doorstep, that my heart realized something it already knew. My parent’s anniversary was on my birthday. These flowers were meant for someone else entirely.
So I watered and watched and made sure that when the 14th came, the daffodils were arranged and cut in a vase my daddy had given me, topped off with a card that said, “Flowers from your love.”
And every year since, they’ve bloomed just in time.
We all watch and wait and wonder together until the day when someone comes running in the front door and shouts, “Mama!!! The flowers are here, mama!! The flowers are heeeeeere!!!”
I still clip and cut and arrange them in the same sweet vase so that on the 14th of June we can show up at mama’s door with flowers from my dad.
But this year, I saw her in a way I hadn’t before.
I watched as her eyes lit up when she opened the door and saw her yellow daffodils. I noted the careful way she smelled each bloom. And I smiled at the absolute delight in her voice as she exclaimed, “When you said you were coming, I was hoping this is what you’d bring!”
Maybe that is the gift of turning 40.
You see love differently. You marvel at its simplicity. You give more of who you are in every day.
So that when you are gone, your love can stay.
It may be quiet. It may be unexpected. Or it may be unapologetically bold. But no matter how it comes, such a rooted thing cannot help but reach through the madness of life and say…
“I’m here, my love. I’m here.”