I think I saw about a dozen “It’s Tulip Time!!” updates on Facebook from my various Seattle friends this year. Who can blame them? I’ve yet to see another regional flower display with quite so much oomph as the ones at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
I went last year with my parents, but the big kids didn’t get to go, so when there was a random teacher’s work day at school, I jumped at the chance to take the whole crew. It meant that we were a little ahead of the peak bloom time, but there was still plennnnnty of color.
To my surprise, the kids found the muddy farm fields highly enjoyable, even more so than the display gardens. I guess I’d forgotten the ineffable joys of squishing boots into thick layers of brown muck. Katie didn’t even complain about the hike around the field, and she only got stuck once.
William, on the other hand, got mightily stuck, and Eleanor offered to carry him out of the mud, which I found very touching. Even when she ended up slipping and landing on her duff in the muck. Amazingly, she laughed it off, and even let me take a picture of her muddy pants. Have I mentioned how amazed I am at who this Eleanor person is turning out to be?
And yeah, the display gardens. Jeff’s enthusiasm was pretty much tapped out by the time we got to them, which made him reluctant to smile for pictures. He kept wanting to wander off to an empty garden bench. A little bit of fudge from the snack tent made things a bit better, but he is eleven. There’s only so much fudge can do when it’s up against an age like that.
A kindly mother offered to take a picture of all of us. I’ll admit that this is one of the best me-&-them pics I’ve managed to pull off in lo these many days. We are all looking somewhat in the direction of the camera! I look moderately nice! Who’d have thunk it was even possible? Oh, the minor miracles of spring.
And then there’s this series of Katie pictures. The other children made faces behind my head to try to get her to smile for the camera. Yeah, it’s once again a picture of Katie with her mouth wide open, but I call it success.
Jeffrey did perk up towards the end, especially when we began drifting towards the exit and the beckoning parking lot. You can see it in his eyes: we are getting ice cream on the way home. (Also of note: the mud on the children’s legs. Wow, right?)
If you’re wondering about the flower catalogs in the above picture, I gave them to the kids to try and see if they could match the flowers in the garden to the ones in the photographs. This worked surprisingly well. William jumped right in and actually identified a few tulip varieties.
Eleanor begged to go back to the festival during spring break, but I knew the rest of the kids wouldn’t go for it. It was great to see someone else appreciate the flowers as much as I do, though.