Call me sentimental, but I think Mother’s Day is sacred. I don’t believe we can go wrong, thinking about moms and motherhood with some sense of purpose once a year.
And nothing says “I’m thinking of you” like flowers. Luckily I don’t have to go far to find some for this Mother’s Day — the backyard continues to bloom.
Like these lilacs. They’re my mom’s favourite. They wouldn’t grow on our rocky property along Georgian Bay when I was a kid. So on Sunday afternoons when the lilacs were in bloom, we would drive around town after church, pulling over whenever we saw lilacs so my mom could smell them. If we found wild ones next to the road somewhere, she was after them like a bumble bee. She’d snip a few twigs to bring home and stick them in a silver flower vase inherited from the doughty women of her clan.
Mind you, the first flowers I ever gave my mom were dandelions. She did what a great mom does: put them in a vase of water on the windowsill.
She knew that kids know the truth about dandelions: they’re pretty. Just because they have a mind of their own doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate their beauty. And the dandelions in this yard remind me that humble roots go deep, and are not easily discouraged. My dad’s mom once called this backyard garden her own, and her fiesty spirit lingers on this day.
Violets are another flower that always make me think of my mom, and her mom too. But when I think of my grandma, I also think of my daughter, who carries on her name. She’s not a mom yet, thank goodness, but one day maybe she will be. And in loving her I must always remember and respect and honour her mom. Here’s to her great spirit too.
I have fond memories of my mom trying to cajole more violets into growing in the shade beside our front porch. In my yard, which has many shady places perfect for violets, I’ve successfully encouraged them, digging them up and putting them where they’ll thrive.
Likewise, the forget-me-nots, which seem to like a little more sunshine.
I don’t remember knowing this flower up north as a child, but they’ve been a welcome guest in the garden here in Toronto, where I’ve helped them a long a little. Seems to me I didn’t even know their name when they first showed up, keen and bright. Perhaps just a single flower, exploring the possibilities. I liked the possibilities. I was happy to make them a home and to help them find comfort here. Like my beautiful wife, who’s growing into impending motherhood beautifully. These are for her.
There’s this mystery flower in my backyard, too. I don’t even know if it’s officially a flower or not, but what do I care?
Golden, beautiful, mysterious: reminds me of my birth-mother, and how she remained a mystery for so much of my life — a life that she first carried. It’s a miracle that we know one another now and I’m wishing her much love on this day too.
May all our mothers blossom and bloom in the warm sunshine of our appreciation, and the sustaining rain of our respect, and the deep rich soil of our love.
Happy Mother’s Day, with love, to moms everywhere.