Slow blooms

Mar 18

Tomorrow marks my three year cancerversary.

Praise the Lord, my medical status is No Evidence of Disease.

I’ve learned enough about cancer to know that this is a really big deal, and I shall never take it for granted.  We are enjoying these ordinary days with cancer-y things on a back burner.  Spring is coming — I love this season of anticipation. Nothing kicks it off quite the same way as the slow bloom of my perennials.  Gardeners know this, but non-gardeners may not: perennial bulbs (the flowers that come back at the same time every year with no effort on your part) multiply over the years; the twenty bulbs I started with will have many more blooms than that this year.   I view it as my love, my prayers multiplying as the years go by.  It’s a lovely thing to think about each spring.

When we moved into this house, a dear friend gave us daffodil bulbs as a housewarming gift.  (Isn’t that a wonderful idea?)  As I planted them, I whispered prayers over our family and our home and the years to come.  I’ve always called them laugh-o-dils because they make me feel like laughing when I see their yellow brightness in late March.  Maren and Greta call them laugh-o-dils too; it was only last year that Maren learned their real name is daffodils.

The week I was diagnosed with cancer, there was this giant new thing in our lives: CANCER.  Even then, in those first early days, I was fighting fiercely to not let cancer win.  I was pushing back against all of the negative things that cancer can bring, and I was coaxing out beauty, strength, love, hope and all the good things as I went about my suddenly-not-so-normal days.  I blogged about planting flowers with Maren; they were hyacinths, and they are already showing buds.  The symbolism of these hyacinths is raw and real for me.

My front garden has white and lavender irises.  All of them come from my mom’s house; as an avid gardener she enjoys splitting perennials (remember how they multiply?) so that they can be shared.  Those of you who know her know how very “Roz” this whole sentiment is.  I have a whole collection of her irises that she split and transported over to me for us to enjoy.  Irises are happy and they are family.

I love the slow but predictable warming of spring.  I love that the bulbs spring forth from the earth with more confidence than I do that the cold weather is gone and warmer, longer days are here to stay.  Seasons of dormancy and seasons of beauty; there is rhythm and purpose to it all.

I’m still the same Jen I was three years ago, five years ago, ten years ago.  My God is still the same God; He has been so good to me throughout it all.  I know who I am, and where I’m going.  It’s up to me to make note of all the beauty along the way.

Do today well.


  1. Melody Smith /

    Wow, nicely said Jen – I too am loving the new blooms as they creep out of the earth. Peace to you today, tomorrow and always!

  2. You are able to share this most horrible time in such a lyrical, positive light. I have been thinking about the journey of the last 3 years, and it began with strength – we walked/ran the Heart Mini the day before diagnosis, and using this togetherness and goal setting and hard work – we have had 3 beautiful years – made better by our new family saying “Do Today Well”
    You can laugh at Roz too – when she gives you irises, it is like a “box of chocolates” never sure of what you are getting – so much for a color co-ordinated garden!

  3. nancy /

    Happy anniversary and happy spring. Such a special time for a very special lady. You are loved.

  4. peggy /

    My favorite flower is the daffodil…because they seem like such happy, sturdy flowers. King Alfreds are the ones I prefer because they stand so tall and straight in any sort of weather. I love them so much, I wrote a short story about them to submit for publication. The story was not selected…but it might have been had I called them the absolutely delightful name of “Laugh-o-dils”! My prediction is that one day you’ll have hundreds of Laugh-o-dils and huge clumps of irises everywhere…and you’ll be an old lady tending your garden with your “little bits” (my name for grandchildren)! ♥p