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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

After the rain

I don't know where to start on this one. For once, I am absolutely speechless. And I know that no matter how much time I spend wording and re-wording this post, no one is going to understand the true enormity of something that I saw today. No one.

I went outside today to scope things out before the first round of storms was due to hit us. I wanted to make sure that there wasn't anything lying around that would blow away should the storms get as severe as was predicted. As I was coming back around to the front of the house, I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks.

Two of my irises bloomed.

So what's the big deal about the irises, you ask?

Seriously, I don't know that I can put it into words, but I'm going to try. And it's going to be a long story, so sit back and relax while I try to explain.

Ex1 and I moved in together in May 1999 and were married in August of that year. We were renting a little house out in the country, and in the 5 years that we lived there, we planted quite a few flowers, including the irises. On May 6, 2004 we closed on our house in town - our big beautiful dream house. We moved in immediately, and on May 12, 2004 we welcomed our son Jared into the world.

Jared and I spent the customary 2 days in the hospital, and then went home to our new house. We were busy unpacking and arranging things, which was no small feat after just giving birth. One of the things that still needed to be done, however, was going back out to the old house to dig up the flowers to transplant them to the new house, along with some cleaning. So, there I went, still hurting from giving birth and toting a newborn, back to the old house to dig up 250+ irises to bring to the new house. And once I had them all relocated to the new house, I planted them.

Of course, there was drama involved with all of this. I was criticized for not digging them up right, not replanting them right, not doing it fast enough, etc. I was told that they were never going to bloom because of the way that I had replanted them. Long story short, Ex1 and I divorced within months of moving into that house. I stayed, he left. The irises flourished, and there were hundreds of them that bloomed regulary for the next 6 years.

Fast forward to September 2010, when I had to move out of that house due to the separation and impending divorce from Ex2 and into our current one. There was no way that I was leaving my irises behind, after everything that I went through to get them to that house. So I spent a couple of days digging them up and putting them in garbage bags and plastic totes so that I could move them. It was hot, it was exhausting, but I was determined. I didn't get them all, but I got probably 90% of them.

I didn't get them planted over here right away - things were just too chaotic. The bulbs sat on the sidewalk in garbage bags and totes for well over a month before I finally planted them. I wasn't sure if they were going to survive, but they took root and have been sprouting lots of green leaves with no flowers. I know that it usually takes them a year or so to acclimate to their new surroundings so I was patient.

Then I saw it this morning.

The irises are blooming. They have been uprooted, moved, forced to adapt to new environments, been through horrendous transitions that no flower should tolerate, and they're still blooming.

I seriously stopped dead in my tracks and felt the tears in my eyes when I saw them. There are only the two so far, and they might be the only ones to bloom this season, but the point is that they ARE blooming. They are coming back from circumstances that could have - should have - killed them, and they are surviving. Not just surviving, but thriving.

It might not seem like a big deal to some people, but to me it is huge. I don't give myself credit for things that I've done because frankly, I don't think that I deserve it. I made crappy choices that led me to where I was and then I had to pull myself back out of it. But at the same time, I know that I have learned so much in the past few years - I have learned from my mistakes and I know that I never want to go down those paths again. And with this knowledge, I know that I can thrive. I will survive.

Just like my irises.


  1. This is absolutly beautiful... and I really DO "get" what you are saying! I would have cried like a baby. Its the little unexpected things in life like this that seem to make the biggest impact on my perspective. Kudos for noticing the symbolism!

  2. It is an awesome story. I get it too. You inspire me to keep on keeping on. Maybe that should be your nickname..."Iris".


  3. This is AWESOME! You totally can thrive & survive!

  4. Thank you everyone!

    On a side note, I didn't realize until today that Ex1 and I closed on the house on 5/6/04 and I kicked Ex2 out of the same house on 5/6/09. I'm sure there's some symbolism there too. LOL

  5. An inspiring story and those are beautiful irises!

  6. Wonderful, as always. I would have cried too! And I do believe the dates have some symbolism to them.

    And- I LOVE Irises they were our wedding flower.

  7. I love the Irises... want to know something cool? We used Irises in Alexander's flowers for his birthday. Loved the story.

  8. Oh, Kristen! That is so awesome!! He is such an amazing little guy! I can't wait to have some time so that I can read more of your story.

    I don't know if you saw my comment the other night or not, but I'm also from PA - I grew up between Harrisburg and Gettysburg! Small world...

  9. Okay, so, when I started reading this, I thought it was going to go in a different direction. I THOUGHT you were going to say that the irises had something to d with you and the ex that died, and that they never bloomed until this year, after he had died. So I was going to share a story with you, but now it's irrelevant. But- because I'm me, I will share it anyways. About 4 years ago, the kids found a caterpiller. It was in the fall. The thing made a cocoon in late fall, and was in the dang thing all winter. I figured it was dead, but the kids refused to get rid of it. I figured eventually I could prove my point when it grew mold. Fast forward to the spring. My grandma on my mom's side had COPD and MS and it was taking a toll. We moved her into a nursing home, and spent many days cleaning out her small apartment, because it was something like off of that hoarders show. We were at her apt cleaning one day, and we got a call from the nursing home saying that she had died in her sleep. We rushed to the nursing home to say our goodbyes and then we went home. When we got there.... you guessed it.... the caterpillar was now a butterfly. We tried really hard to release it, but it just kept flying away a little bit, and then flying back and landing on us. So we kept it a few more days, and tried again on a warmer, less windy day, and she flew away.

  10. Wow, Heather....that seriously gave me goosebumps!!! Such a cool story.... :)

  11. Absolutely beautiful. The world seems full of all these obvious little signs right now. I really needed to see this!
    I have a friend who always tells me when I'm feeling blue "don't go looking for the sunshine, BE the sunshine."
    You are growing. Maybe releasing your thoughts and sharing your stories is helping YOU bloom as a mom, a writer, a person. I hope you see dozens of irises!

  12. Ames~I hope that you will finally see what an amazing woman you are. Like you said, the irises have survived and thrived through everything that they've been through, and you will too. You are so much stronger than you give yourself credit for. I love you.


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