One of my wife’s favorite activities each May is planting flowers.
We have an assortment of hanging planters and barrels around our home. By the end of this weekend, an assortment of colorful flowers and ferns should be brightening up our landscape.
For my wife, there’s nothing better than being down on her hands and knees, carefully putting the roots of flowers into the right amount of appropriate soil and fertilizer. It seems to calm her and make her happy.
Admittedly, planting flowers is one of my least-favorite activities each year. I don’t have the magic for marigolds or patience for petunias. (I do have the determination of dandelions, but I’m told that’s not a flower; it’s a weed.)
Our children don’t particularly enjoy helping out either. They’d rather be doing anything else, and they’re pretty open about that fact.
Still, we do our part, out of love for their mother. I focus on moving heavy bags of dirt and fertilizer. Our daughters help work the soil in the planters, while their mother does the careful task of planting the fragile flowers.
It seems appropriate that most years, we do this work on Mother’s Day weekend. In so many ways, this is how the parenting works in a home too.
To be sure, I help out. That’s mostly in terms of moving the kids from one place to another. It’s in reminding them to mind their mother and her wisdom. I try to lead by example.
But truth be told, most of the credit for raising children belongs to their mothers. That goes way past the genetics and the struggle of childbirth.
It’s our mothers who often put in the tenderness and compassion that help us take root in a sometimes hostile world.
Mothers inherently understand the importance of diligently making sure we’re planted in the fertile soil of knowledge and health. They take the time to be certain we’re watered with love and affection. They frequently remove the weeds of bad influences and bad decisions from our lives.
They do it so they can see us bloom, for whatever amount of time they can.
For too many mothers, it’s such a sad time right now. They put so much effort into seeing their children grow, and the coronavirus pandemic keeps them from seeing their handiwork on a regular basis once their offspring matured.
They’re not perfect, but neither are their plants. We all have room for improvement. Still, they put in the long hours to help us flower.
As we go celebrate a Mother’s Day unlike any we’ve had before, we should ponder the influence of these mother gardeners on our lives. I treasure them in my life, and they deserve to know how grateful their sprouts are to have them in their lives.