Mother’s Day held many traditions in my house growing up but my favorite was picking a bouquet of flowers from our yard to present to my mom with her breakfast. My mom has a beautiful flower garden that blooms March through October. The appearance of the first crocus in March is always a remarkable event. It’s followed by the daffodils and tulips. May brings the lilacs and the roses start blooming as the lilacs start to fall off. The variety of summer flowers is too plentiful to name.
Spring in Colorado can be unpredictable with snow, rain and sunshine all happening in the same week (or day). But Mother’s Day usually marks the official end to the possibility of snow and my Mother’s Day bouquet started the season of fresh-picked garden bouquets on the breakfast table. When I was really little, my bouquets were a huge handful of dandelions, so big that my hands and the stems would be covered in the sticky dandelion milk. As I got older, my bouquets were more varied with lilacs, tulips and daffodils. If I was lucky, the peonies would be blooming too, and my bouquet would be something to rival that from a European flower market (at least in my mind).
Without fail, my mom would say to anyone who stopped by the house the week after Mother’s Day, “Oh yes! Aren’t the flowers beautiful! Jennifer picked those for me for Mother’s Day! I so look forward to my bouquet every year.” As an adult and before I had kids, I wondered if my mom loved my bouquets as much as she seemed to. Looking back they were asymmetrical, had sticks and random pieces of long grass and dandelions were still the predominant flower. They really didn’t look anything like a flower market bouquet.
Now that I have kids, I have no doubt that she loved all of them. When my kids actually have the thoughtfulness and take the time to make me something or to express their affection, I revel in it. It’s the stuff moms wish they could bottle up for those other, more plentiful days when their job feels thankless.
Today, my boys took me to the flower shop to pick out flowers since our flower garden is comprised exclusively of mostly faded roses and, thanks to our gardener, there is not a dandelion in sight. They told me to pick out whatever I wanted. I looked at some roses and lisianthus. There were a few Gerber daisies and sunflowers and lots of tulips and hydrangeas. Then I spotted my flowers. Tucked in the back of the shop on a little shelf, I found two vases, one full of lilacs and the other full of peonies. I took them all.
Now, we just need to find some dandelions.
Mother’s Day is such a bittersweet day for me. I so appreciate the affection and thought my boys have put into today. I will absolutely soak it up. But, my mom is far away and I would love to walk in her garden this morning and pick flowers for her. I’d give just about anything to hear her say, “Oh yes! Aren’t the flowers beautiful! Jennifer picked those for me for Mother’s Day!” Only now do I understand how much those bouquets of dandelions meant to her. There aren’t enough flowers in the world to tell her how much I appreciate all she has done for me over the years.
I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.