I married a great mom. I know that’s hardly an unbiased opinion, but a snapshot of our six kids suggests someone did something right.
Nina just graduated from Creighton University and has a job as a social worker. Ben is doing well at Iowa State. And all of the others of our children are college graduates. Jon works for Microsoft now, but in less than a month is off to Paraguay with his wife Nalena as members of the Peace Corps. The three daughters who are married are all, currently, staying at home to care for young kids—an interesting development, in this day and age, for such a group of liberated, educated women, but as my daughter Katy recently blogged, there is no such thing as “just” a housewife with young kids.
All of us have bumps in the road of life, and none of my kids lives a perfectly happy, idyllic existence. But, who does? Anyway, both Audrey and I get along pretty well most of the time with all of our kids, and that’s saying something.
Parenting and gardening aren’t the same. You can grow lush plants and be a cad. Similarly, you can have a brown thumb, but be wonderful with your own offspring. Still, it’s possible to be a decent parent and good gardener too, and I do see some parallels between caring for plants and the care you give to other growing things that you love.
Audrey and I have recently completed round one of our spring gardening. Grass seed has been sown and has sprouted, broken trellises in the front garden have been replaced and four new clematis plants have taken the place of morning glories. One rose bush died last year and has been replaced. Five new little trees have edged their way into our crowded forest of a back yard. Petunias peek from planters on our rear deck and from pots on the fence, courtesy of Audrey.
Somehow, all this planting seems motherly. Audrey referenced her mom when she asked me about my methods for tree planting—she noted that her mom always filled a hole with water for tree planting. I do that, too, with larger trees, but didn’t bother with these tiny Arbor Day Foundation twigs.
My mom loved roses, so planting a rose bush honors her. Planting the trees would be something my dad would do, but the tree mania is primarily something that Audrey and I share, so I would say it’s mostly for her this Mother’s Day.
For Mother’s Day, we bought a swing, and need to assemble the stand. It will sit out in our back yard and probably be used. We enjoyed our treeish little corner of the world, and will soak in some of the warm spring glory on this Mother’s Day in our new seat.
On this lush Iowa Mother’s Day, may some growing thing remind you of how it wasn’t just the universe, but also a particular woman, who gave you life. May you recall her fondly, even if your relationship wasn’t or isn’t perfect. And to all the moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day.
And for Audrey, happy Mother’s Day, dear. The tomatoes and peppers and herbs and petunias all look up to you, but they can’t compete in your heart with Amanda, Jonathan, Theresa, Katy, Deanna and Benjamin. The garden of our life seems to be yielding rich fruit, and for that, you and I both can be grateful.