I intended to savor that purple signpost of May, the first iris. I was going to take an artistic picture and drone on about its beauty, even though the picture would tell you all you need to know. I might have also included, as a bonus, some thoughts on the enormous bleeding heart, which is dripping pink and white blossoms in a most artistic way.

The iris is my husband’s favorite flower. I didn’t know it until I had known him quite some time, as he’s not the sort to just up and share his favorite flower – or, for that matter, his favorite food, or drink, or most anything – he leaves it to the audience to deduce, if they are so inclined. So over the years, as the iris bed has grown, I have come to love this flower too. I see how hardy they are, growing in ditches and despite beds of weeds. Their bright splash of elegance gives class to whatever surroundings they’re in. they are flower apostles of joy, in the first group of spring bloomers.

So, on seeing that first iris, I made sure Babby saw it and pointed it out to Daddy. He oohed and ahhed and they talked about how pretty and per-per it was.

We then moved along to our afternoon fun – he with the mower, me with the (embarrassingly thick) weed-infested iris bed. Our young heroine, Miss Babby, was busy with her shovel, enjoying the texture of the dirt, and then with her chalk, making art on the concrete, and then with her play house, putting her flair for decorating to fine use (completely unbeknownst to me). I got to yanking and pulling and ridding the innocent irises of their unwelcome mustard seed and dandelion guests. It was a grand time. I paused for a time, catching my breath, and Babs and I talked about the new iris bloom.

It was a brief pair of conversations that she had with each of us about the iris, but no matter. I no more looked down to attack another batch of weeds than she declared, “Mommy, I picked it!”

The iris became, instead of an artistic picture, the perfect gift for Nanny, whose birthday happened to be the next day. Yes, it was lovely in the garden, but clenched in my two-year-old’s hot little hand, I saw a different shine to it, in the smile on her face and the joy in her eyes.