My Mother’s Day began today much like many others – my children served me a delicious breakfast in bed of fresh warm cinnamon rolls. Yum! I woke up slowly, sipping my Diet Pepsi and reading my e-mail. My husband asked me how I wanted to spend my day. I decided on gardening. Now, gardening is not a typical Mother’s Day activity. In fact, it may be one of the chores that many mothers seek to avoid on the one day they are allowed to avoid chores each year. In years past I certainly wouldn’t have chosen this particular activity. This year though, I’ve been anxious to get the flower boxes filled and the tomato plants going. So, we headed out to the local home improvement store where I loaded down the back of the van with Martha Washington geraniums, petunias, tomatoes, peppers, and more.
Back at home, I reveled in the cool breezes, the damp earth, and the beauty of the new plants. I tenderly placed each one in its place, and filled in with the potting soil specifically formulated to help them grow. And as I planted, I couldn’t help but think about the women – the mothers – who had come before me.
I thought about my own mother, who fed us home grown and canned green beans and corn for so much of my life that I didn’t know it came in metal cans from the grocery store. I thought about my dad’s mom who had a big, beautiful garden but who most enjoyed the flowers that she planted everywhere in her yard. I thought about my mom’s mom, who didn’t have big gardens, but always managed to have a little plot of green onions or fresh tomatoes when I was little. And I thought about their mothers, and the mothers who came even before them. The ones who planted gardens in foreign soil. The ones who planted gardens on hillsides in Kentucky. The ones who counted on those gardens to feed their families through the long, harsh winters and who mourned when they didn’t.
Gardening on Mother’s Day was a joy to me. In a very real way I celebrated not just my own life as a mother, but I communed with the mothers and grandmothers of my past. After all, gardening is much like being a mother. We nurture, we tend, we feed and care for, but ultimately we sit back and watch as the lives we have cared for become lives of their own. I hope that today as I gardened I planted roots for the futures of my own children, and honored the roots of my mothers.
Happy Mother’s Day!