Thursday, May 31, 2012

Perfection in Small Things

It's been a while since I tried to sit down and write anything.  The addition of our floppy-eared, furry-tailed fifth child to the rest of the family chaos has eaten up pretty much any time I had to spare.  But today we bewail celebrate the first day of summer vacation, so it seemed like a good occasion to risk a chewed throw pillow for the sake of a post.

Last spring I came across a pot of hydrangeas that were so blue that they haunted me until I went back and purchased them.  Florist hydrangeas are about as disposable as cut flowers (they're not bred for hardiness) and I am not usually one for throwaway purchases (too many years feeding a family on a graduate student stipend has ingrained in me a certain parsimony.) But they were just so... blue.  A genuine blue, too, not the dye-in-the-water blue of carnations around Independence day and moth orchids at Home Depot.

So after a glorious month of blooms, I trimmed the dead blossoms, watered it occasionally, and hoped for the best.  It survived the mild Florida winter in the screen porch, and I was excited to see flower buds a few weeks ago.  But as you can see, it's a shadow of its former self.

But thank goodness for bud vases.  I love bud vases, because they are so much easier to fill than large vases (remember, I don't buy cut flowers... I could pretend it's because of the pesticides, but really, I'm just too cheap).  And because it's just a single flower, I don't try to keep it around past its prime and watch its sad, slow decay (can you tell I have issues with cut bouquets?)  Perfect for blooms from my orchids, and now perfect for this hydrangea:

Which is a good life lesson to help me survive the summer.  I love for my kids to have the down time of summer vacation, and I love the freedom it gives us to fit in the unscripted - the impromptu picnics and fishing trips, the Ninja's random science experiments and the kitchen upheaval when the Eldest decides he wants to make a sachertorte, the late night swims with Little Sister and walks to the park with Little Brother, past all normal bedtimes.  Which all sounds idyllic until the kids wake up crabby at 7am (why will they never sleep in??) and I realize that the day hasn't even started and the house is already completely trashed and my life looks something like that scraggly hydrangea.  It's then that I need to reframe the picture, cut off a pretty branch, stick it in a bud vase, and zoom in.  Enjoy the small perfections, so intensely beautiful that it can carry us all through the laundry, cooking, decluttering, hollering, and squabbling that ties it all together.