Mother’s day has never been too much of a holiday, mentally, for me. Growing up, I can rarely remember doing much of anything on our own. We would make the very wobbly clay things, that were perhaps supposed to be bowls, or cups, or flowerpots, but usually ended up looking like very wobbly lumps of clay. We would make the tissue flower bouquets in school or church, with color-crayon decorated cards on heavy construction paper, and call it done.
We’d go to Church, and still dressed up we’d go to a restaurant for brunch or lunch. Chosen by my Father, I always thought, although I suppose now that Mom was consulted (I wasn’t privy to those discussions)- where all the kids would squirm for a couple of hours, waiting until the time we could get loose and out of our fancy clothes, and get away from mom and dad as fast as we could.
My grandparents were there sometimes too, and that was always a pleasant although somewhat dull time. After all, as much as I loved them both, they didn’t climb trees, hang out on the banks of the Mississippi river and get mucky, play Hogan’s Hero’s, or ANYTHING that we wanted to do. On spring days when the weather in Minnesota was FINALLY starting to warm up, we wanted to be running and yelling, not sitting quietly with old people.
Hence, I’ve always been very careless of this occasion, too often leaving all arrangements to others- Dad, then Lynn (for both our Mom’s), and frequently forgetting until the last moment, that the day was even coming. Luckily, in our current life, Lynn adores her gardens, and is very, very good at it; so, my kids have started the tradition (okay, I help too) of giving her on this day, plants and the labors to plant them.
We go and wander the garden center, perplexed and enchanted by the variety, the profusion of colors and textures and scents. The warm stuffiness of the greenhouses, the smell of manure and fertilizers and plain ol’ dirt mingles, fills our nostrils, and fires up latent ambition to plant and nurture.*
Seeking out in the row upon row, glass house after glass house, the particular plant that Lynn has casually (she knows me well!) told me she wants this year, we wander as we search, “Daddy, this is beautiful!” and “Wow, Mommy would like this one too!” making my heart fill with joy and love, that my kids think of their mommy, and even knowing that they will do the chores to dig, turn and plant, they can enthusiastically try to over-buy. They don’t care, that they will have to work- no, they get caught up in their love for Mommy, wanting to present her with every conceivable plant, all possible decorations, with the joyful work to set them all for her; simply to make her smile and hug them, they face this task with grins and giggles. ***Edited: Beth managed to keep this attitude throughout the afternoon, but Nick succumbed to Rob’s attitude; Rob is now 16, and he most certainly didn’t manage to preserve even a small pretense of wanting to help. He also, unfortunately, decided to show this by incessant picking on th e younger two. ***end edit***
Now that my own mom has died, and Lynn’s a few years before, I watch my kid’s think of their mom, with the love and joy that they have for her, and I wish, I wish that I could somehow say once more, “Mom, I Love You.”
So we’ll go out this afternoon, and plant and laugh and water and dig and weed, under the direction of our own personal master gardener, and I will take the time to tell them, each and every one of them, that I love them dearly.
Happy Mothers Day to all moms, everywhere.
*Luckily, I’ve learned to resist this ambition, this siren’s call- for I’m no gardener. I reserve my skills as the grunt-laborer under Lynn’s direction, after the design and planning are done, for the shapes and slopes of the overall. No, Lynn is the queen, the all-powerful chooser of colors, varieties and placements when it comes to the gardens.