1. required to be done, achieved, or present; needed; essential.
synonyms: obligatory, requisite, required,
I ran outside Saturday morning with scissors in hand and cut the bright, yellow daffodils blooming at the South West corner of our house. It’s one of the sunniest spots in our yard, a small strip of gravel and dirt squeezed between the basement’s exterior wall and a narrow sidewalk that leads from a side door to the front porch. These flowers are nearly always the first to bloom on our property.
After a mild winter, we've plunged deep into a cold snap and snow is forecast for tonight. Daffodils are hardier than I expect, but I feared the buttery bits of sunshine wouldn't survive the extended cold, so I broke my own rules and cut the flowers to bring them inside.
In all honesty, I can’t say for sure what day I cut the flowers, but I’d like to believe it was Saturday. Somehow, in the middle of managing one son’s sleepover, carting another to the pediatrician and pharmacy, and dropping my daughter off to peddle girl scout cookies at a local greenhouse, I made time for the flowers.
I don’t remember whether it was Saturday specifically, but I do remember bending there at the corner of the house where the sun shown. I remember how quickly my fingers froze clutching the green stems in the wind and how I pushed myself to cut one more and then another – not just the open flowers, but the buds just beginning to bloom. Then, the cold in my fingers drove me inside and I rinsed the stems and stood them in a tall, turquoise vase on the kitchen windowsill.
I think it was Saturday because I knew my husband, who'd been working under his truck for 24 of the past 36 hours, wouldn’t notice them. No matter whether I placed them prominently on the kitchen island or tucked them in along with the other bright trinkets on the wide windowsill, he wouldn’t notice them because all of his energy was absorbed in the the effort of trying to save his rattletrap, red pickup truck. The necessary repairs were what left me to handle the rest of the weekend’s demands.
When he stood in front of the kitchen sink that afternoon, with his back to the window, and told me, near despair, that he thought he’d ruined the truck’s engine, I told him – calmly and rationally, but not helpfully – that we couldn’t keep ‘doing this.’ By 'this,' I meant trying, through pure elbow grease and ingenuity to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. All through that tense conversation, while we wrapped our minds and wallets around the possibility of needing to buy a new vehicle, the happy flowers stood calmly just over his shoulder in their tall blue vase.
At least that’s the way I remember it.
Later, it seemed the truck would be ok after all and it felt like an evening of letting down in front of the TV might be in order. But, we went to bed at 8:30 anyway, because sometimes necessary can be exhausting and we were already losing an hour of sleep that night by springing forward.
This was a weekend of necessary things. Demands on my time, energy and focus hit, one after the other, in a steady stream. I carefully plotted pick-ups and drop-offs with our one running vehicle. I put one meal after another onto the table, like a magician pulling one rabbit after another out of a hat. I even stayed home from church Sunday morning to run to the grocery store because we were out of all the necessary items.
And still, this morning, dirty and clean laundry sits in piles awaiting my attention. The chicken food purchased yesterday must be pulled out of the van, into the garage and distributed into the feeders. Wood must be hauled before the big snow storm descends, the floors, covered in crumbs and dust from the wood stove must be swept.
At times like this, it feels like the necessary things will never end, like they will squeeze and squeeze the breath out of each and every day until our breath is gone. But somehow, today, I'll find time to pause and pet the dog where she sleeps curled beside me on the love seat. I'll hug the cat, the kids, and tell them they are loved. I'll run outside, once more, and cut what flowers still remain on the bright, sunny corner of the house. And when the snow begins to fall tonight, those bright blossoms will still be blazing gently, quietly, in the kitchen whether we pause to notice them or not.