Flowers as Omens

This morning I was reminded of a post from a couple years back about my stepdaughter E. To say that she, or any of the kiddos, are the same people as they were when I wrote that, would be a lie.  They have changed in ways great and small, but I remain proud of them, and I continue to love them and who they are becoming.

Anyway, E spent the night, a very welcome visit that warmed my heart, which hearkened me back to my previous post about my little sunflower.  In that post, I mention sunflowers as an omen in my life, and they never were more than in the summer of 2016.

I didn’t intend to have sunflowers in my wedding bouquet, you see.  I didn’t intend for that to be the boutonnières. Yet, when we met with the florist and I looked through his ideas, these flowers stood out to me.  He gushed over them for a September wedding, so I went with it.  Afterall, they were one of my favorite flowers, they would look lovely in my color palette, and they made me think of Mark: we grew some together a few years prior, one that managed to grow even taller than him.

Then, we had a car accident, a T-bone with the kiddos which shook me something fierce.  No one was hurt, thank God, except Cathy, my minivan.  This car accident was on Memorial Day.  By my birthday, June 13th, we were homeless, as we had been kicked out of our apartment.  (If I knew then what I know now, this never would have happened and I would have had a lovely little lawsuit.  But I digress…) We moved our stuff to storage and put ourselves up in a crappy motel.  This is exactly 3 months before our wedding, and I have just started having gastroparesis flareups, and they’re talking layoffs at Mark’s work, so life is just FANTASTIC.

But then…

Then I get the cash back from the totaled car and it’s enough to get something a little better.  I go to a lot in Niagara Falls to check out a minivan they have, and hanging from the rearview mirror is a leather bracelet with a sunflower charm on it.  I look at it and think “cute.”  I buy the van, and that lovely lady Natasha rode with me really well, for a while.  I drove her into the motel parking lot after trolling around in the side-smashed van and felt very pleased and proud.  Then, I started looking for apartments.

Too many wanted a credit check.  Too many were too expensive for their locale and space.  Eventually, someone told me of a “for rent” sign they saw, and we called the number.  Mark was working, so I went to look at the apartment myself.  The first thing I noticed was the photo of a sunflower field that was hanging over the sink, 

The landlord and I hit it off, and he also really liked my mom, who tagged along, so we made a deal on the spot.  And when we finally moved in, that photo still sat over the sink, left behind by the previous tenants.  It remains there today.

When we got married, I was surrounded by sunflowers.  They were in the decorations, the bouquets, even on the cake.  I had come to think of them as a good omen, particularly towards mine and Mark’s life together. 

A couple of years ago, we took E to that sunflower field, and I thought of how lucky I was to have my husband and the kiddos and all this love in my life.  I thought of the time I went there with Bernie and Carey…I still think of that day as the true start of me and Careys friendship, when she went from being “Asshat’s girlfriend” to “MY friend.”  My mother buys me things with sunflowers on them, because she knows they bring me good vibes.  And oh, how I wish I had the space to grow some again!

Anyway, I just think that they are a good omen in my life, aside from the fact they bring sunshine with them wherever they go.  I adore driving past a sunflower field.  I love when Mark gets me a bouquet of them.  I can even say I have spent over an hour looking at different varieties on the internet. 

It’s just a good flower, y’know?

Sunflower

I don’t write much about the kiddos, even though they are a huge part of my life.  I like to keep a little privacy where they are concerned, hence the initials and a lack of current photos on my blog.  But they are growing into amazing little people, and I just want to celebrate that for a moment.  

This week I spent a lot of time with E.  During the summer, we try to take each kiddo for an extended period…a few days to a week, so that they can have one-on-one time with dad.  When M is here, we hang out periodically though the day but spend the majority of it doing our own things.  When L is here, we hang a bit more, and he likes to go to places like the store or my mom’s house with me.  Still, he retreats to play his game or watch a movie while I clean house or write.  When K was here, Mark had some time off so he was with me to entertain her.  But E was a little different.

Content to do her own thing for a while, she is also ready and willing to do anything else, too.  She even came to take Mark to work with me, something none of the others have deigned to do.  On Monday, we ran errands and such.  I truly thought she would hear the itinerary and say no thanks, but she grabbed her sunglasses and her father’s shoes and got in the car. (Sidebar: she wore these shoes all week, everywhere we went, despite having her own.) 

Tuesday was more fun.  E is a budding photographer.  Nature shots are her specialty…I have included a couple of my favorites below.  I asked her how she would feel about a human subject, and would she be so kind as to photograph me for my future website?

Of course, she said yes.

So we went to the Burchfield Nature Preserve and she took my photo a few times, in different places.  When we finally got “the one,” she asked if we could go hiking.  And so, we spent about an hour wandering the trails, looking out for poison ivy, discovering cemeteries, and trying not to fall in the creek.  Afterwards, we didn’t want to go home, so she suggested we call Kevin.  For the new reader, Kevin is my brother-from-another-mother.  He’s about as close as the kiddos have to an uncle on my side of the family, and they all adore him.  Kev is very good at getting on a kid’s level, be it video games with the boys or letting the girls braid his ridiculously luxurious hair. 

We drive out there and he wants to go explore.  Of course, we are down with the plan.  Also, E desperately wants to ride in his car…she’s something of an auto enthusiast as well.  He takes us up to an overlook in East Aurora, where she takes some photos.  Then we head over to an abandoned developmental center that the county is allowing to be reclaimed by nature, supposedly.  Finally, we ended up hiking along a creek in West Seneca.  It was exhausting, but fun. 

On Wednesday, both of us were tired from Tuesday, so we were very chill.  Still, E was more than willing to help me with some housework, and when Mark got home, we spent some time together on the porch just talking.  Thursday brought with it some more errands, of which E again had no complaint and was eager to accompany me.  Then, Friday.

E mentioned on Thursday how much it sucked that Mark had to work all week.  She said she had a great time with me, but missed her dad.  So, Mark asked off for Friday and got it.  He planned a whole day for her.

She had wanted to go fishing.  This surprised me a little.  Usually when we fish, she is the first to get bored.  She will catch one and be done, or she will catch nothing and get annoyed.  Then she wanders off with my camera to take her pictures.  She is never the one to wake up on Saturday morning and say “Let’s go fishing.“  That’s K or L.  Still, she knows her father loves to fish, and she asked if we could go.  Early Friday morning found us on our way to the Bull Creek boat launch in Tonawanda.  She caught a perch.  She was pleased, but then it started getting very hot.  So, we moved along to our next destination. 

We went to Mississippi Mudd’s for lunch, a sort of funky hot dog stand along the river.  The food was delicious, but the bees were insane.  We ate quickly and then fled.  My fool self got sweet potato fries with honey on them so of course they were swarming my food. 

Afterwards, we went out to Sanborn to visit the sunflower field.  Many photos were taken, and I definitely wore the wrong shoes for the occasion.  Especially when we went out into the U-Pick field.  Mark bought six sunflowers.  A bouquet for me, and a perfect little one for E.  I love sunflowers.  They’re not only my favorite flower, but a recurring omen in my life…I’ll have to write about that at some point, too.

Afterwards, we took her home.  I was sad to see her go.  I had a lovely week with this little kiddo.  I saw truly how much she is growing every day, turning into this beautiful and kind and funny young woman.   I know she would have preferred to spend all her time with her father, but it was lovely getting to share that time together.  I don’t have kids of my own, and I don’t plan to, but I have my step-kiddos, so the motherhood thing is weird for me.  I love them and feel connected to them, but also kind of out of the loop.  So, getting to see just the little day by day things is fascinating to me.  E blew me away this week…so talented, so clever, so compassionate.  I truly love watching them grow.

Kinda like sunflowers.