We’ve spent a decade-ish here, in this home and space, and the children have traveled the door frame in our entryway inch by inch, each black mark a year’s worth of growth.

When we first came, the flowers were lovely. Planted by the woman before me, snow-on-the-mountain and daisies and my favourite, peonies.

But the boys were small and running and climbing, and the peonies, bless their hearts, were smack under the big tree in the back yard. The one perfect for climbing and swinging, and the peonies were trampled the first year.

And the second and on and on, until now.

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Today I walk outside on my fiftieth birthday and find this bloom. White and showy and I think of her character, strong and persistent enough to outlast the onslaught of three boys and their friends and ten years of neglect.

It’s a gift, I know, the tiny heart ache for the years behind of boys running and climbing.

It’s a gift, I know, the children growing and the flowers blooming again.

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