day trip · siblings · slice of life

Stops & Starts

I’ve dreamed of visiting Holland’s tulip fields in person. Thing is, the chance of me getting to the Netherlands in the next decade is small. (If you know of an international school in the Netherlands looking for a literacy consultant, drop my name to them!) So, I asked my husband if he’d be willing to drive nearly two hours each way to Holland Ridge Farms, which has over eight million tulips blooming each spring. Marc agreed and bought the tickets.

There were lots of kitschy photo props throughout the farm. This one reflects my affinity for tulips. Cheesy? Indeed.

Once Ari got the hang of twisting and pulling the tulips from the earth, he became a zealous tulip picker. Ari wanted red ones for himself, yellow ones for his sitter, and every other color combination for me, Isabelle, and Marc to enjoy. Therefore, Ari picked a LOT of tulips — some of which had to be discarded because he didn’t pull them off properly from the bulb. It was tulip madness!

Isabelle, who is nearly six years older than Ari, wasn’t into his let-me-stop-at-every-tulip-bed-to-pick-another-tulip antics. She grew frustrated with the stopping and starting, especially once we had been at the farm for 90 minutes.

After we bought some drinks, we took some photos. That’s when I made a deal with Isabelle. If she let me grab a few more photos, then we’d head back towards the car. Wisely, she took the deal.

One of the many photos to which I subjected my family. (Ari was INTO it. He even picked a new tulip for the picture!)

The thing is… we didn’t factor in Ari stopping and starting to pick more tulips on the walk back across the 300 acre farm. Isabelle grew irritated with him quickly.

We tried challenging Ari with timers. “Let’s set a five-minute timer,” Marc told him. “When it goes off you can stop to pick another tulip.”

The first time we did that Ari made it 2.5 minutes.

{Cue the exasperated tween.}

Next, I suggested a stopwatch. “This time we’re going to count up using a stopwatch. I want to see how long you can go without stopping to pick any tulips. Just admire them, but keep walking to the car.”

It worked. Ari made it one minute. Then two minutes. Then three minutes. Then four minutes.

Somewhere around four minutes, I must have said something like, “Aren’t those tulips beautiful?” Well, that’s all it took for Ari to run off to pick one of them for me!

Sweet, right?

Sweet for me. Maddening for Isabelle.

It probably took us close to an hour, but we eventually made it to the exit. Somehow, Isabelle survived. In the end, Ari’s stops and starts provided her with an excellent slice of life story. (Click here to read her slice of life story about her little brother’s antics.)

Posing by Red Tulips. (I’m sure he picked a few from this flower bed.)
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.

14 thoughts on “Stops & Starts

  1. I’m a huge tulip fan, too, so I’m adding this farm to my bucket list. I can think of worst places to be stuck than in a tulip field. I’m hoping to visit the tulip festival in Thanksgiving Point south of Salt Lake City next eeek, but the weather has been awful and cold. We were in the Netherlands last month, a little early for tulips, but I did bring home bulbs,

  2. By the looks of the photos, I understand why you were so interested in traveling to the farm. It seems Ari was very interested in the tulips and Isabelle wrote a very interesting slice of life. (I left her a comment.) If you or Isabelle would like to share your photos and a caption under the digital art, I would love to post them at my Poetryliscious Gallery in May.

  3. Oh the tween! I could picture her exasperation because she sounds just like my almost ten year old! How fun that Ari found so much joy at the tulip farm!

  4. Having visited Keukenhof in the Netherlands I think you should definitely head there, but I do not think they will allow tulip pluckers, so maybe you and Isabelle should go alone. VI imagine a slice from Ari’s perspective would add another view altogether!

  5. This is a sweet, sweet son to give you tulips and a sweet husband to drive you to the tulip fields. I went to Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Georgia earlier this month and found it breathtaking so much that I subscribed to their updates just to see what’s blooming. It’s worth the two hour drive.

  6. I had never heard of this place. I know it is a place Kathy would love to see. I will need to file this away for net year. I can picture Isabelle’s exasperation with her brother’s constant stopping. I like that you and Isabelle both got a slice out of this trip. Two different voices, two perspectives, one great trip.

    1. Yes, she’d LOVE it, Bob. You’ll have to road trip there next year. Although, there’s a place like this up in Scranton that might be closer for you to get to.

      As for Isabelle, I’m really enjoying writing slices alongside her once a week. It’s fun to tell the same story in different ways.

  7. Hanging out in a tulip farm sounds lovely-and very spring time. I like your description of how cute your little Ari must have been picking tulips-although annoying for bus sis. Her side of the story was so funny too. Only a big sis! I could see this play out with my own kiddos. Thanks for sharing and now I’ll be looking for tulip fields near me. 😉

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