Mom pulled irises from her garden this week. “Les, do you want some of these? I’m just going to throw them away,” she called to ask me. It’s likely not the right time of year — too hot and too dry — for the flowers to survive a replant, but I’m willing to take that chance.
“Yes! How do I plant these?” I asked her, as I always do.
She walked me through the steps, patiently teaching her youngest daughter — still, after 37 years. I suppose parenting never really ends, right?
“Cover the roots,” she said, “and place them this direction. Give them water and they will be fine.”
She handed me the trash bag full of plants, and I drove home.
I don’t have as much patience as my mother. It was a long week. My husband was out of town, the toddler was full of energy, my girls were bored and the thought of taking even a few minutes to plant these flowers annoyed me. But I had to get them in the ground.
I found a spot in my backyard and got to work.
As my hands — and feet and knees — filled with dirt, I wondered why I waited so long to plant the flowers. I love irises. They remind me of my mother and my grandmother and our farmhouse back home.
My family and I moved into our new house nearly six years ago. It was winter. But I knew that fall I would plant irises.
But when fall came, I failed to get the bulbs in the ground.
“Next year,” I said.
And next year came and went, without any flowers planted. The trees made it into the ground, a few bushes, too. But not my favorite flowers. I kept telling myself I would. Eventually. I knew I wanted a piece of my childhood in my home, too.
But the years flew by, as they always do, and the Means’ home stayed Iris free. “I have to stop waiting to live,” I told myself as I finished up. Here’s the part of the story when iris planting becomes much deeper than a 6-inch hole in the garden.
Sometimes I forget to live right now. In this moment.
Do you ever do this?
Do you ever think, “I’ll take that vacation when I finally pay off my student loans? I’ll apply for that job when I have enough experience. I’ll enjoy the evening when the clothes are folded and the kitchen counters are clean. I’ll play with the kids after these bills are paid. I’ll wear that dress when I lose 10 pounds. I’ll call my sister when she forgives me. I’ll work on my marriage when the kids are older. I’ll read my Bible when I’m not so busy.”
I’ll plant those flowers next fall. I’ll plant those flowers when we move into our next home.
But what if next fall never comes? What if “when” never happens. Why am I waiting to live? Sometimes, I get so caught up in the someday, I fail to notice all the goodness happening right now.