The winter after I lost my first daughter, I was already pregnant with my second daughter.
It was a rough pregnancy, fraught with hospital visits and sleepless nights.
"Did she kick?"
"How long has it been since she moved?"
One day, while at work, I felt Ella flip over and then nothing.
For one hour, nothing.
Two hours, nothing.
Fearing the worst, I went in to be checked out.
She was fine. I was not. I was a wreck.
That evening, my Dad bought me a hyacinth. A pathetic little reject from the flower shop. I fell in love immediately.
"If you have a plant to take care of, you will have something to focus your nervous energy on. The stress cannot be good for the baby."
I took care of it. Watered it. Played calming music while I sat on the window seat and watched the sunrise, while silently praying for the tiny life inside me.
It bloomed purple. Amazing purple blossoms, even though the pot said "White hyacinth."
That February, I moved to Texas. I went by plane, so taking the hyacinth was out of the question. Dad took care of it for me, while I went to work at a flowershop, and eventually gave birth to a happy, healthy little girl. I returned that August, when Ella was 3 months old.
"It's the strangest thing, " Dad said when I inquired about the hyacinth, "It's STILL blooming."
When Gabe, Ella, and I moved to a neighboring town, I couldn't bear to take that hyacinth from Dad. He took care of it, chilled the bulb every winter, and every spring it would bloom. It never bloomed in the summer again, but it bloomed like clockwork in the spring until Ella turned about 5. It finally gave up the ghost and died.
Today, my husband bought me a purple hyacinth.