I was always nervous when Grandma Hurst made her annual visit to the greenhouse; she loved flowers and I never wanted to steer her wrong with the flowers we had available. We grew miniature roses back then...and Grandma loved roses. They didn't really flourish in the corner under the evergreens, but she picked them out anyway and never seemed to care if they turned out to be annuals, not perennials. Grandma and Grandpa loved taking their family out, but the Mother's Day she decided the thirteen of us should celebrate up at the Tall Corn in Shenandoah turned out to be a one time only event. First the little kids ate all the bread; then they ate all the crackers; Grandma huffed as her great grandchildren went from restless to worse.
After Mothers Day church, all the mothers attending church at Christ Lutheran in Orland Park received a little fuzzy blue ageratum as they departed. Even today, the fresh but pungent scent of the plant speaks to my memory as the flower of Mother's Day, just as the scent of marigolds is connected to summer and Vacation Bible School. Some years we bring geraniums, some years wave petunias, or maybe begonias, but ladies at First Baptist of Tarkio leave with flowers Mother's Day Sunday too.
Even though we were working on Mother's Day while Ben was young, he still honored his mom with a pretty corsage Sunday morning. While other moms and grandmas pinned their flowers on their frocks, this mom wore her incongruous posy on her t-shirt until it wilted on Mother's Day afternoon. I still have a dried corsage of little pale mauve roses on the windowsill of my kitchen.
It will not come as a shock that Mother’s Day gifts were inclined to follow a gardening theme. Trees, shrubs, pots or whatever the garden center was long on that spring came home in the back of the trailer and was ceremoniously unloaded to appropriate oohs and aaahs.
Except for the year Blake made an evening delivery to one of our country customers and backed the trailer over some statuary they had for sale. That year what I got for Mother’s Day was a concrete cherub. He was designed to hold a bird bath over his head, but the birdbath shattered on impact. Without the birdbath, he looked like an underage waiter at a bar, jauntily weaving his way through the crowd with a tray of beers.
Monday begins another frantic week of flower deliveries as the days before Mother's Day intersect with the planting season for city parks and fundraisers for school groups from Kansas City to Norfolk. For this mother, it is a time to count blessings as my Fitbit counts steps. Loading the trucks this past weekend was a family affair in the chill and damp and mud that has marked the end of April. Josh showed off his ability to count; Lizzie and Abbie showed off balancing flowers high overhead and the boys were promised that carrying flats would increase arm strength for baseball. We slipped and slid, laughed, and teased, and promised pop to those who stuck it out all afternoon. And everyone did! With energy a plenty to jump on their bikes and ride to check on their pigs.
The moms and dads this day were the kids of yesterday, who pitched in to help with varying degrees of enthusiasm or stoicism, but stayed to work until the work was done. Mother's Day is a time to reflect on those who made the mold, who set the example, who steered us in the right direction while we were young and oblivious, who we appreciate more as we look back.
P.S. It is an especially memorable week for this family because Lizzie and Gabe and Abbie all turn nine. Mother's Day may be for flowers, but these kids will need ice cream!