I remember when I was a little girl, my dad would always take us out the day before Easter or thereabout so we could pick out a flower for my mom. For some reason, I always picked a hydrangea bloom because it looked like a piece of popcorn and it made me giggle. For my grandmother, we would always get her little bedding plants, because she would fill her flower boxes with them for the summer. I remember she liked marigolds.
As the years went on, I never realized that my mom was actually planting those hydrangea I gave her and that they were destined to become large plants. I don’t think it’s possible that she planted every one, but I know she planted some of them. I still smile when I see them out and about, although for some reason I don’t see them as often, as if they’ve fallen out of favor with today’s gardens.
When my children were little, they would have an Easter flower sale at school and they would send home an envelope so you could send in money. They would take the kids to the flower room and they would get to pick out a flower for me and back then, my mom too. I remember the look on their faces when they would come storming off the bus with dirt flying everywhere, yelling, “Look what I got you Mom!” I would take them home and water them, putting them in the garden and watching them all summer long until the first frost would render them obsolete.
Once my mom passed on and I was widowed, there wasn’t anyone to take them out anymore to get that flower and as they got older, schools didn’t offer it for the older kids. Off and on, I would get flowers from my oldest when she could, and I always treasured it. Sometimes for Easter, sometimes for Mother’s Day and even recently, I received some, just because.
Now we don’t seem to really celebrate Easter anymore. It’s become another Sunday and there aren’t flowers anymore. I don’t mind so much, really I don’t, even though I seem to be waxing so poetic about it today. I have such wonderful and warm memories of those moments in the past and sometimes I look for the photographs and remember how excited the kids were to give them to me. Trying to recreate those moments by getting a flower for me probably would be more like forcing a watermelon through a straw. I think I used to justify not getting them anymore as a, “If I want a damn flower, I’ll go out and buy one for myself” kind of feeling, but now I like to go out front and see the daffodils and hyacinths and remember my mom planting them there so long ago. It brings me joy to see them every Spring. My mother enjoyed gardening FAR more than I do, so I leave them there.
Perhaps my melancholy resides in the fact that she passed on Good Friday. So, in addition to the actual date of her passing, every Easter weekend I’m reminded of her and in most cases, the flowers she planted are usually emerging or are in full bloom at the same time. I still ride by all the flower stands on Easter weekend and reminisce about stopping to pick up flowers for my mom and grandma back in the day. Seems like a lifetime ago. Maybe it was.