Out the front door in a rush to get to work, I hardly notice the daffodils until I get in the car and look back at the house.
They stand in rapt attention on the edge of the brown unseeded lawn. Almost overnight, their bright yellow noses poled from staunch green stems that had stood firm against the ravages of a cold and windy March.
The key is in the ignition but I don't turn it. The flowers jolt my memory, taking me back in time. The car's interior becomes a cocoon of silence that's broken when I try to sing a child's quaint song:
"Daffodils standing so straight in a row
Bright yellow bonnets just see how they glow.
Beautiful dresses they're wearing but oh . . .
When the wind blows
Each green petticoat shows."
She was in the first grade. I remember the day she came home from school, her dancing eyes and knowing smile telling me she had something special to share.
I can almost hear her sweet voice singing the daffodil song. When she came to the last line, she picked her dress up to show her own petticoat.
I loved it.
Daughters are such a part of a mother's ego. I recall nudging her to sing about the daffodils for my friends and co-workers. I didn't know then that such moments are rare and meant for only one person to savor. Those times are lasting, pure and the only absolute beauty we mortals can experience.
The daffodils are a reminder of a little girl and a time in my life that was over all too soon.
"They grow up before you know it," is a cliche said so often that perhaps young mothers don't pay attention to it.
I didn't. Her growing years sped by like a home movie shown at top speed, not even slowing down for the big events that were supposed to be milestones: high school prom, college graduation, marriage, a job, a house . . . .
As it turned out, the really big events were the ones never taped or photographed. They are subtle moments in a mother's life that can only be recaptured when the daffodils bloom.
Cheers to you in heaven Nanny.