Good Morning Church! I Have A Mother’s Day Gift For You!
It’s been nearly twenty-years since I began writing.
One of the first stories I wrote was to commemorate the farming community I grew up in just as it began to change forever.
There was an old house at the end of our road that had been marked for demolition. The yard around the house had been overwhelmed with daffodils for as long as any of us could remember.
Every spring we would visit the yard to pick flowers.
Just weeks before the dozier arrived several of us walked to the house one last time to pick a spring bouquet.
On the walk home this story began to form in my mind as a way to remember the old house and the beautiful memories.
And it also happens to be a great Mother’s Day story. (With a spiritual lesson of course!)
Don’t Forget The Daffodils!
The old house came into view at the top of the hill. It was nearly summer.
As usual the yard was alive with beautiful flowers.
Roses of every variety dominated the yard during the summer months… giving way to chrysanthemums and pansies in the fall.
In the winter beautiful red berries covered evergreens.
Spring brought the most dramatic display. The yard seemed to overflow with beautiful yellow daffodils. Many who passed by would stop and visit with the woman who lived there, always leaving with a spring bouquet. She had lived in the house for over seventy-five years, now it was time to move on.
With a smile she waved as her family pulled into the driveway.
Four restless little boys spilled out of the car with kisses and hugs for their great grandmother.
“Careful boys,” their mother demanded. “Give Grandma Great gentle hugs.”
“Nonsense,” the old woman replied. “I like strong hugs, the ones I can feel all the way to my bones.”
Her granddaughter smiled, “I know,” she continued, “but, they tend to get a little rough, and well… you are…”
“Ninety-two last month,” interrupted the old woman. “I know how old I am, but I feel like I’m seventy.”
“We just want you to take it easy. You’ve earned a rest.”
“I’ll rest when I’m dead.” she answered with a chuckle. “You’re the one in need of a rest, working all the time, running all over town with those boys. How many teams are you keeping up with this year?”
“Four,” she sighed, “just like last year.”
“Well it’s a good thing I’m moving in.” The great grandmother concluded. “You need my help.”
“Speaking of help,” her granddaughter added, “I bet they could use ours.” The boys and their dad were quickly loading the trailer with the boxes from inside the house.
“No,” her husband replied, “this is the last of them. The moving truck got everything else.”
“Well, not everything,” the older woman added with a sly little grin. “There are still a few boxes on the back porch.”
The family walked around back and were greeted by quite a sight. The porch was filled with neatly stacked boxes. At least fifty in all.
“What do you have in there?” The boys asked eagerly.
“Daffodils!” she replied with a broad smile.
“In all those boxes?” questioned her granddaughter. “What are you going to do with them?”
“Plant them of course,” she answered, “in your yard. It’s the one thing I couldn’t bear to leave behind.”
“We won’t have time to plant all of these. There are hundreds of them, maybe thousands.”
“You just plant a few everyday,” she replied, “grab a handful on your way out the door and put them in the ground.” She opened a box and took out three flower bulbs. Picking up her shovel she planted them before anyone could protest.
Without another word the family began loading the remaining boxes. Grandma Great had made her point and had clearly made up her mind, she would not leave the flowers behind.
One week later..…
The first week in her new home went smoothly. Her family had made a familiar place for her.
The spare bedroom had been cleared out to make room for the furniture she had become comfortable with.
The room now held a lifetime of memories. From, the rocking chair her husband had given her seventy years ago, after the birth of their first child. To, the many albums filled with pictures and archives of her large loving family.
Her great grandchildren had already made a routine of setting with her in the evenings. They spent hours going through the albums and memories she had preserved in those pages.
Everything was falling into place, with one exception.
The problem was apparent the minute you pulled into the driveway.
A driveway now blocked by cars and bikes that were normally tucked away in the garage.
A garage now stacked with box after box, at least fifty in all, filled with daffodils.
The family faced the boxes and their contents everyday. Scattering in all directions, Grandma Great would remind them as they headed for the door, “Don’t forget the daffodils.”
Climbing over the boxes and out the back door it always went the same. Stopping quickly to notice the shovel standing conveniently by the door, they would consider taking a moment to plant a few bulbs. It wouldn’t take long, but there would be more time later and if the whole family worked together they could probably plant them all on Saturday. They could spend the day planting, and be done with it. Not this Saturday of course, there was an early game, but next Saturday there would be time.
And so it went day after day, week after week. The family would climb pass the boxes always sure of the time they would have to plant Grandma Great’s flowers just a little later.
Summer came and went quickly with days full of ball games and practice and the occasional free moment spent swimming or visiting parks and places of interest. Hardly a moment went unscheduled.
Grandma Great seemed content to tag along occasionally, but enjoyed spending most days visiting with those who would stop by. Blessed with a large family she always had plenty of company.
Things began to slow down as the air cooled and fall approached. Grandma Great seemed different in the months that followed. She was slowing down a bit as well, and seemed to spend more time sleeping.
She was finally growing tired. Everyone knew her time was coming.
No one was surprised when that day finally arrived.
One week later…
The spring air felt warm blowing through the open window as the family drove home from the memorial. Everyone sat quietly, their thoughts filled with their favorite memories of the old woman everyone knew as Grandma Great.
The entire family had spent the weekend at the old homestead, telling stories and just remembering.
“The house is going to seem so empty.” The young woman finally said breaking the silence.
“ I know,” agreed her husband. “She was there less than a year but became such a part of things. I’m going to miss her daily reminders, to not forget the daffodils.” he continued, turning the car onto the family’s long driveway. “I hope she didn’t realize we never got them planted.”
“She would have been so disappointed when they didn’t bloom this year. The ones at the old house were beautiful. I’ve never seen so many blooms all at once.” The woman replied, thumbing through the pages of an album she had brought along for the trip.
Lost in thought she was startled when the car came to a sudden stop as they approached the house.
She watched as her husband climbed slowly from the car mesmerized by what he saw. Following his gaze she saw it too.
Daffodils, beautiful yellow daffodils, everywhere.
The yard seemed to overflow with the beautiful yellow blooms.
Leaving the car behind the family walked down the lane edged in flowers and headed for the garage.
The boxes were still neatly stacked but the mystery ended as they opened one box after another, empty… everyone… box after box they opened until only one remained.
Opening the final box they found three small bulbs nestled in the corner.
Without a word the young woman gathered the bulbs and retrieved the shovel standing by the door. Within a moment the bulbs were planted.
Laying the shovel aside the woman took her husbands hand.
Together they joined the kids stretched out on the grassy hillside.
Sitting quietly they watched as the sun set across the yellow carpet of blooms, listening to the breeze as it whistled through the trees and the old woman’s words as they echoed through their minds.
“Don’t forget the daffodils.”
The moral of the story? The spiritual message?
Don’t wait — don’t put off till tomorrow what you need to do today.
And don’t let a task overwhelm you.
When faced with something that seems impossible or difficult to accomplish — just start.
Happy Mother’s Day!
May 14, 2017