Flowers have been my mother's passion for the whole of her life. It was flowers that helped her grieve the loss of my father. It was flowers that took her through all the different passages of her life. And now, as I reflect on those flowers, I finally understand what the flowers meant to her; they were more than just flowers.
We all have passions or hobbies in life, or at least I believe one should. Something that releases your mind from its worries. Something that puts a smile on your face and makes your heart light. For me, that is knitting. I really love to sit down with my needles and yarn and almost immediately begin to feel my mood lighten. For my mother, it has always been her flowers.
She always had the prettiest yard in the neighborhood. Almost every single day one could find her on her hands and knees either weeding a flower bed or planting some new cutting she had come across. And did she ever have a green thumb. Whatever she put in the ground grew. Once she took a piece of a rose that my husband brought me from his mother's rose garden when we were dating. Today it is a beautiful rose bush in her own yard.
I watched my mother tend her flowers and care for them as one would tend to a small child. She watered them in the hot southern summers, put pine straw around them in the fall and ran out to cover them if a freeze was in the forecast. I watched her then, but I never truly understood. What I didn't understand was that the flowers were her way of dealing with life. They made stressful situations more calm, long days shorter; she created something of beauty whenever things were not so beautiful in her world.
As my mother has aged and her physical abilities are now limited, she often longs to get her hands into the dirt to tend those flowers. She worries about them; they are constantly on her mind. Do they have enough water? Are the weeds taking over? She thinks about these and many other things as she sits in her chair, unable to do so many tasks now. And because of these things, I am so grateful that I now have some of her flowers growing in my own flowerbeds.
Whenever we built this house, about eleven years ago, my mother insisted that I come dig up some of her daylilies and other flowers to put in my own yard. I did it, of course, but it was no big deal to me at the time. However, yesterday, before the rain set in, I noticed that my daylilies were blooming. That's when I took a moment to walk out and look at them. They were absolutely beautiful! That's when it hit me. I won't always have my mother around, but each year when my daylilies bloom, I will have her with me. It was a sad, yet comforting moment for me. Life is funny like that. It slips up on you and that's when your realize how precious it really is.