Loving and Leaving Pittsburgh: The Phipps Conservatory


Jeffrey and Eleanor were on spring break this week, and I thought we’d take advantage of the spare time to see the always-gorgeous spring flower show at the Phipps Conservatory. I always try to take some good photos of the kids with the flowers; this is the third year in a row that I’ve done such portraits.


So many memories of this place! It was one of the places I visited on my first trip to Pittsburgh, back in May 2001. Brian and I were absolutely enchanted with the butterfly forest.


Over the years, I’ve learned a few hints about visits — go as early as possible to get a good parking spot, watch out for puddles, and never never never pay them a visit on Good Friday. The crowds are horrid on that day.


Just before Eleanor was born, I took Jeffrey for a visit on that fated day, and it was so stressful. He kept dashing ahead of me (he was only 2 1/2 then) and with my huge tummy, I could barely keep up. There were a large number of senior citizens there, and I was afraid that he was going to knock somebody over. We were attracting curious looks, stares, and a few not-so-quiet “Humph!”s all through the gardens.


Worst of all, there were two particular ladies that we kept running into over and over again. Every time I had to beg their pardon, I could feel my face getting redder.

I decided to cut the visit short and get out of there, when Jeff decided to run into the gift shop to take a look at the toys and — aaa! — expensive glass objets d’art. Lo and behold, who should be there at the botanical soap display other than those two same ladies again.


But before I could apologize once more for Jeffrey’s behavior, they both smiled and shook their heads.

“Such a good baby you have,” one of them said. “Most babies wouldn’t want to walk that far without being carried. He went the whole way through without crying to be picked up once.”


I’m sure I wasn’t able to mumble much more than a thank-you before running off to catch Jeffrey once again. If only those ladies knew how much their kind words meant to me!


Jeffrey’s behavior has improved much since then. He and Eleanor were a couple of clowns for these photos. Whenever I sat them down and raised the camera, they immediately began to tickle, hug, and make silly faces at me and each other. They are such good buddies!


William, on the other hand, had a bad cold, so he didn’t get photographed much beyond this:


But he’s still awfully cute, wouldn’t you say?