Mother’s Day is just a few days away, but my memories of my mother don’t need any calendar or greeting card company’s prompting.
Memories rushed in yesterday with particular power because I was doing something Mom would have dearly loved, something she taught me to do, with someone she never met but who she would love with incredible love, someone I can hardly wait for her to meet.
I was planting flowers with our little five-year-old granddaughter Brenley.
We were taking a chance. I know this. To plant anything in our country before Mother’s Day is to walk on the wild side and live dangerously.
But plant we did. Out in the back yard. We dug down into the soil of two whiskey barrel planters, set in our plants, and watered them with water from our rain barrels.
We were standing there, our hands covered with mud, Bren holding the “loppers” as I showed her where to separate our “cuttings.” And we had time to talk.
That’s one of the best things about planting stuff together. You’re working for a common goal, looking forward to what God will do to make the world and your little corner of it more beautiful, and you get to talk while you’re doing it. We dull grownups need to spend all the time we can talking with little people. They know what’s really important.
And that’s when it hit me: “Bren, your MawMaw Shelburne, my mom, would have loved this! She loved to plant things and watch them grow, and she’d REALLY have loved doing this with you!”
Memories flooded in, countless times in my childhood when Mom would take my brother and me out to the back yard, and we’d dig, and plant, and water—and talk. Mom was Rembrandt and her yard was her canvas. I think the only things she loved more than her growing plants were her growing kids and grandkids. So she just grew them all together.
A lot of what Mom knew about growing things, she learned from her parents. Grandmother Key was always on the lookout for rocks with hollows in them, perfect planters for her little cacti. For larger planting projects, the instrument of choice, both for Mom and Granddaddy Key was a grubbing hoe. I remember setting the plants out and then “grubbing” little dams around them to hold the water in. I remember playing with plastic Army men around those dams, earthen barricades prone to frequent flooding. Drowning was far more a danger to my troops than any enemy action.
Granddaddy was much more rancher than farmer, but he certainly knew how to grow things. And I’m not sure who loved those rare and precious collaborative gardening times more, the father or the daughter. One thing was clear: they loved the time together.
Mom knew that Paradise was a garden, a place to grow love. And love grows forever.
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Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.