Ed started apologizing for the tulips he was carrying before he even sat down next to me. “Emmy picked them out, and as we were walking out of the store I remembered you’re allergic to them,” he said.

“Honestly,” I replied, “I really didn’t remember that. I think I’ll be fine.” We settled down together to watch Lily’s ballet recital that afternoon, and she would be the recipient of the tulips after the show.

Tulips (2)

Many years ago, I was a young student teacher in a middle school resource room. My cooperating teacher was amazing, and I loved teaching those kids. Dennis was a boy I particularly remember. He was in sixth grade, and yet he was fourteen since he had been held back a couple of times. He was shy and quiet, and acted younger than his fourteen years. Every morning, it became his habit to bring me a tulip. The bottom of the stem would be rough and ragged where he had torn it off. Hoping that Dennis had not stolen the tulip from the neighbors, I always placed it in a cup of water and kept it in the middle of the table where I spent most of my day working with small groups. I began to notice a pattern; I would feel fine in the evenings and early morning, but as soon as I started teaching my nose would run like crazy. It didn’t take long to make the connection between the tulip and the sneezing.

I kept that connection to myself, and Dennis continued to bring me a tulip each morning. On the last day of student teaching, I held back the tears until I made it to the car. I learned so much about teaching that semester, and would miss the teacher and students I worked with. After graduation, I found a job and worked with many, many students in the years to come. Remembering all the students I taught makes me smile–and I have a special fondness for the boy who brought me tulips.


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16 Replies to “Tulips”

  1. So sweet. I've grown to like tulips more. Last spring my husband went to Holland and purchased 110 bulbs to be shipped to us some time during the winter. They came and we planted them and they reigned over our yard so beautifully for weeks. And I'm talking beautiful colors like I've never seen! Dutch tulips – so perfect.
    My recent post The Hollow.

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