For the past twenty plus years (bordering now on thirty, I realized) Mother’s Day has always been a bit sad for me. It was definitely worse early on, when I was young and still sharply mourning her loss to breast cancer. And always during hard times in my life that followed, when I would have loved to have her shoulder to cry on, I felt the absence all over again.
So I learned to take myself outside (as I often do when I’m sad), and stick a shovel or my hands into the dirt and plant something. One year it would be a shrub or a tree, another I would add or divide perennials, or most often, as I did this year, plant pots and containers with cheerful flowers. Whatever I had room for, or the weather permitted me to accomplish, I’d do.
Yesterday snow actually fell here in upstate New York. I didn’t get nearly as much as some poor souls, and it’s all gone now. Although it became another cold and blustery day today, I bundled up and proceeded with making this year’s Mother’s Day garden.
As I was working, I realized I don’t even know if my mom enjoyed gardening. It was something I only came to love as an adult. She has been gone so many years that we never got to do any of it together, and I don’t remember gardening growing up. But it only made me sad to dwell too much on that idea, and I wanted my project to be a mostly happy occasion.
When I was done I was chilled but content, and headed inside for some hot tea. The squirrels and birds soon came by to check out my creation, digging and pecking a bit, then moving on.
It’s a comfort to think that, whether or not my mom liked gardening herself, she’d appreciate that I discovered my love for it. Gardening has grown to be so many things for me: an art form, a story, a memory, a solace, and more. And hopefully, wherever she is, my mom looks down on my efforts over the years, happily, and knows she is a part of them all.