Our front yard hosts an enormous, borderline obnoxious, hydrangea bush that sports hearty bulbs every year. In addition, the back yard invites our neighbor’s hydrangeas to escape through the fence and live with us for a season. My mother in law has this magical ability to pick these flowers. Well, let me clarify that, because I can certainly cut a hydrangea. But the ones she cuts last. Mine wilt, wither and are just plain sad looking after a few days. Why is this? I don’t do anything different. Same scissors, same plant, same water, same vase. What is her secret? Believe me, we have actually had lengthy discussions about this. It is just one of her many domestic super powers.
The first time she gifted us with her hydrangea-preserving talent was when I was in the hospital giving birth to my daughter. She was staying here with our oldest. That was over wo years ago and here they remain on my mantle, suspended in time. A few weeks ago, she clipped another bunch, and they still look like they are living right on the vine. I am so grateful for these small gestures. Whenever I return home after she has helped with the children, I come home to complete peace. The children are always groomed and well fed, manners have improved, some sort of creative activity has been shared, the outdoors has been explored, a new skill level (reading) has been achieved, and to just boot, the laundry is folded. She departs (sadly for me) and things begin to slowly unravel. The whining creeps back in, I procrastinate doing the laundry, my daughter forgets what a brush is, and I cave in to the television requests while throwing a frozen pizza in the oven.
But the flowers remain.