“There is nothing else quite so pathetic as the post-mortem kindness so often manifested by people who thought they had no time to be kind to their loved ones while they were living.” – Orison
The quote above has struck a cord with me and has stuck to me like a burrrrrrrrrrrrr ( a really big poky burrrrrrrrrr ). How does this relate to gardening you ask? Mom. That’s my answer. My mom.
Mom, has been very instrumental with the gardening bug that I was bit by sooooo many years ago. We grew up in a small town on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon and sorta farmed 5 acres. Out of necessity mostly, Mom was a stay at home mom while dad went off to work every day. At least in the years that I was growing up this is how things went. I cannot and will not speak for my siblings, they all think I had a different life then they did and I will admit … it is true. I have had the best of Mom and I have had the worst of Mom but honestly, I got to know and understand that woman better then any of them. Not saying this in a prideful way just in an understanding sort of way.
As an only child for most of my growing years at home flowers and food were always a must. Of course food was a must. Roses were a must. Didn’t matter how many places she lived or how many houses we were living in there had to be roses.
The first home I remember it was ever in was a house my father built from a torn down pioneer church in Damascus, OR. That church sat at the end of the pioneer cemetery were many of the Oregon Trail pioneers had been buried. Don’t get me wrong they are still in the ground there and history runs mighty thick through the grave stones but the church needed to come down. So, dad did his part and collected the wood and such for the new two story house that he built for the family. One of the light fixtures from the sanctuary hung in the master bedroom over my parents bed, there are still days I can remember laying and looking up at the light fixture wondering what that old church may have looked like.
“I smile because I am your daughter, I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it”
The big house ( as we called it for some reason, it was the only house ) sat towards the back of the property not quite on the property line but pretty close. There was a make shift wood shed just behind the house that was always half full of fire wood, a little grassy plot that could be accessed by the slider door off the dining room. Not much to really see here but that sliding door was the window to the outside world from the heart of the home. We had a huge wood stove that dad installed and many times cinnamon rolls were raised around the warmth of that stove. Mom was the heartbeat of the home. The kitchen was her happy place. Not so much any more. She still likes to whip up a batch of cinnamon rolls but she rather not cook if she didn’t have too. I don’t blame her. This was where life started for me. In the house that built me. The house that established our mother daughter relationship.
Mom has many stories to tell, each child she bore has many stories to tell. But the stories I like best are the stories of our struggle to get to where we both are today. Guess one can’t live 84 years with out ups and downs, another can’t live 45 years and not feel the effects of those ups and down years either. Can I officially say she has been my “rock of ages” … no … but she has taught me who to look towards to find that rock. Is she the mom that all kids dream about … no … but she has taught me that without her, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
“Mom, I can’t say I love you enough. So here is your reminder.”
Our dreams have sometimes matched up, our wants and desires have sometimes collided, and our mantels have always been the same. That will never change, thank God! We both love to sit in a well lived in garden early in the mornings and listen to the songs of the birds. Look over the flowers to see which ones have bloomed and which part of each season we are in. The moon has always guided our thoughts and plans for seeds and planting just as it should. We both have moved with the discernment of Ecclesiastes and knowing there is a time for everything.
The last hand full of years she has been an absolute joy to be around. Her second stroke and new found dementia has launched her into a whole new realm of joy, contentment, and satisfaction with life. Yes, she has her regrets, yes, she has her misfortunes but for the most part she is satisfied with how life flowed. How it all worked out in the end. Not that she is at the end yet but she has come to terms with who she is, whom she is and where she came from and where she is going. There’s a stillness like an early Sunday morning in the garden when the birds are singing their songs and the chill is in the air and the world just seems to be spinning right, that kind of calmness in her heart.
“I’m so lucky to have you as a mother, no one else would have put up with me this long.”
Don’t get me wrong, that woman will still demand a gorgeous hanging flower basket from me today for Mother’s Day! And by gawd, that basket is hanging on the front porch just waiting for her arrival. Happy Mother’s Day lady! You are a unique individual whom I have grown to absolutely adore with every fiber of my being. Can’t wait to sit in the garden, eat hamburgers and French fries and enjoy your stories and company for the day!