Last Day of School

Today is the last day of Miss Thistle’s first year of school. How can that be? The year has flown by, and it has been a year filled with change. I say that rather loosely, since things are changing all the time, but sometimes we only notice the changes in retrospect, or when big events occur. The Thistle Family had our share of Big Events this past year: Mr. Thistle’s new job, the loss of a grandmother, Miss Thistle beginning school, the passing of a beloved, old, persnickety cat, the birth of our sweet Little Thistle, my own major career change after a decade of stability  … What differences! One of my favorite quotes, though it’s rather sobering, comes from Gretchen Rubin’s “Secrets of Adulthood” in her book, The Happiness Project:

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

Boy oh boy, is that ever true! There are some days that have seemed like they would never end, but honestly, most have gone by in a blink. Sometimes it’s hard to fathom the passage of time. When I get together with my close girlfriends, it can often feel like we were just recently a group of giggly girls in high school (or middle school, or even elementary … we’ve known each other a long time!). But then I realize that we are all married, some of us for a decade, and we have ten (soon to be eleven) beautiful children between us. Yes, the days are long, but the years are short.

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Pretty pink peonies, or “roses” as Miss Thistle endearingly calls them …

I thought it would be nice to offer a small token of appreciation to Miss Thistle’s teachers as the school year reaches its denouement. I wanted to send something that would be simple, but beautiful. We decided on hand-picked posies from our garden, and I am very pleased with the result. Flowers are a thoughtful present, without being overdone. I always think it is special to receive flowers from someone’s garden, and cutting your own flowers is certainly a frugal way to brighten someone’s day. With four teachers to thank, bought blooms would add up very quickly! On certain days throughout the year, Miss Thistle had the responsibility of bringing fresh flowers to school for the children to use in a flower-arranging activity. We cut those from our garden too, except on the one date that fell in the dead of winter. At the time, I pondered sending winter plants, like holly, but quickly reconsidered! (Spikes! Thorns!)

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Peonies from the garden, waiting to be fashioned into tiny bouquets …

The peonies are blooming right now, and even though we had a torrential rainstorm on Sunday afternoon, I was able to find some lovely pink peonies that had not been decimated by the rainfall. I cut buds in two colors, both light and dark pink. For some accents, I cut the frilly, variegated foliage from the bleeding hearts, and I also cut some sprigs of lemon balm for their bright green color and fresh, lemony scent. Since the cutting portion involved a sharp knife, I opted to do this part by myself while Miss Thistle had her evening bath.

The flowers and foliage were grouped into tiny bouquets, and secured with some rustic twine. A little pink paper card, handmade, of course, finished it off. Miss Thistle carefully signed her own name and gave the project her very important stamp of approval.

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The flowers and foliage, still wet from our afternoon downpour!

I hope the teachers love the flowers. I would much rather send something that can be beautiful for a day or two, and then composted, than an item that creates waste, fuels overconsumption, and may be unwanted. The notion of the “disappearing gift” is very appealing! In this case, every bit of the gift is compostable and / or recyclable, and we used items found in and around the house. I think there is too great a stigma that for a gift to be “good” it has to be bought and it has to be a thing. It used to be a great honor to receive home-grown, home-baked, home-made, items. What happened to our perception? Too many thneeds.

But now, back to pondering the all-important question: How is it possible that it is the month of June already … ?! Dear Reader, are you ready for the end of the school year? Do you agree with Gretchen Rubin’s above-mentioned sentiment? Are you down with the idea of homemade bouquets as gifts? Do tell …

With Peace,

Jennie

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