The Keukenhof Overreaction
Life & loss,  Europe,  Travel

The Keukenhof overreaction

Keukenhof tulips (before the overreaction)
Tulips at the Keukenhof, before the overreaction*

How can something so well-intentioned result in such a(n) (over)reaction?

I needed a big cup of tea with my Mum today. Out of the blue, something small and well-intentioned resulted in the a total meltdown. This is what lead to the Keukenhof (over)reaction.

Oh, the tulips

Mum at the Keukenhof
Mum and Miss M at the Keukenhof

During my Mum’s last trip to Europe, we visited the Keukenhof in the Netherlands. Tulips are some of my favourite flowers and Mum was absolutely amazed at the variety. So was I.

It was a beautiful, cold, but crisp day, the sun was shining and the tulips were gorgeous. Miss M was angelic and Mum took so many photos that her phone battery died. She also bought a number of postcards, which she never got to send. 

I would definitely recommend a trip if you are going to be in Europe during the season and are a lover of tulips, colour or garden design. This year the Keukenhof is open from 21 March until 19 May.

Since our trip, I have had the parking ticket in the front console of my car. It is not in the way, but it always makes me smile and remember a lovely day with my Mum. 

A good deed?

Last night, as part of the recent work at our house, my husband and I put together a new Ikea cupboard and then loaded up his car with various pieces, ready for donation to one of our local charities this morning. Unfortunately, this meant Miss M’s car seat had to come out of the car.

This morning, my husband drove Miss M to kindergarten in my car, before returning home to swap cars and drop off the donations on his way to work. For some reason, he has decided it is his duty as a husband to clean out my car for me and takes out a handful of rubbish any time he uses it. 

This morning, he took out the parking ticket from the Keukenhof.

My (over)reaction

After nearly two years, I thought I should be in a position to perhaps be sad, but not react violently when something like this happens. However, I was an instant blubbering mess. The ticket was not destroyed, it was not even folded, it just was not in my car anymore.  Yes, it was the Keukenhof overreaction.

Grief and memories of my Mum can hit at any time, without warning. While it has gotten easier with the passing of time, some days it still just sneaks up on me and I need to take some time out. Even something seemingly simple and well-meaning can still cause me to have a disproportionate reaction. I know that now.

When too much is happening in my life, it can all build up and more easily result in such an overreaction. Do you find that too? The depressing weather, my recent birthday, our trip to Brussels and the stress of being without a real bathroom for a month and a half probably all contributed to my tears and my reaction today. Still, it was the parking ticket that broke this camel’s back.

What did I learn?

My husband held me until the tears stopped. He put the ticket on the cupboard, so that I can put it somewhere safe. I can even put it back in the car if I wish. 

How much time has to pass before I can say goodbye to such outbursts? Or will I always be more susceptible at certain times of the year?

I suspect March-May will always be a difficult time, as there are so many important dates during this period. Now that I recognise my susceptibility to overreactions at this time of year, I can consciously take the time I need. I can have tea with Mum and hopefully avoid some of the the stress, but not the tears.

*PS Most of the photos are care of


  • jennybhatia

    It is tough to lose someone you love. And it takes a long time to stop the tears. It took me years after my dad died to think of only happy things when I think of him. Hopefully, one day you will get to the point of when thinking of your mom, you smile. Life is precious. Very sweet post. And the pictures are gorgeous.

    • Rachael Matthews

      Thanks Jenny. I like to think that the feelings now are a testament to what they meant to us. And at least the pictures could brighten up an otherwise somber topic.

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