Ian came home from Birmingham Saturday evening. I didn’t know he was coming, but I had a feeling he just might. He’s a boy who loves his Mom. He had to leave Sunday morning early, so I stayed home from church to spend some more time with him. He doesn’t get home as much as he used to, so all the moments are precious.
It has become a ritual with us for me to walk out to his car with him when he leaves. Then he turns around when he gets on the street and gives me one more wave before he crosses the bridge…and is out of sight.
Today as we were speaking a moment before he got into the car, I said to him, “Look, son, do you see my hydrangeas? Look how good they are growing. They are going to be full of flowers soon.” And, he said, “Yeah, Mom, they’re really pretty.” And, I could hear it in his voice. He did not care one whit about my flowers…not one little bit. And, that’s OK. I know boys pretty well. But, at that moment, I lost it…thinking of the women who had come before me.
My Granny T (Pop’s Mom) was quite a gardener. She lived in Douglasville, Ga. with her daughter and another son. She was always ready to show off her beautiful flowers and trees. In her house and on her screened porch, she had many succulents. That hot Georgia heat did them good. She would walk out to the car with us when we were leaving and point out one or two other plants on the way. Mom would bring home cuttings from her for one thing or another.
My Granny Merritt lived in a mobile home in my Aunt Marie’s yard. She had lots and lots of space to grow things. I can remember her asking me soon after I got to her house if I had noticed the latest plant as I was coming in. And, I had no idea what plant she was talking about. Later, after she had let us rest maybe an hour, she would say, “Come on, Tonna, and let me show you what I got out in the yard.” And, I would walk over her yard with her and she would tell me how she started this from a cutting from Aunt Someone’s yard….or she moved her bulbs here from there and she wasn’t sure if they were going to be OK, but, “LOOK! they are coming up!”…and I would see a little bit of green just breaking the through that North Carolina soil, And, I would rejoice with her. She would go on and talk about this flower or that, her ‘high geraniums’ (hydrangeas), and we would walk and look and she would point and bend over and pull up weeds when she found them. It would get hot and she would go in,,,telling me, “we’ll look at the whatever’s tomorrow.” And, when we left to come home,in our trunk and under our feet were bulbs and cuttings of this and that and hostas.
I think back to winter 2009, my Mom was so proud of her pansy garden. It surrounded the big tree next to the driveway. Pop had helped her build up around the tree, so she had a nice bed to plant in. And, she would put out a hundred or so every year. Then, in the spring and summer, she would grow something else, and she delighted in showing me. She had a 3 level plant stand next to the house, and she kept it so pretty. Geraniums, begonias, bougainvillea, all doing their best to live up to the plan she had in her mind of how they were going to look. And, she had a little garden of zinnias next to the fence. And, when she went out with me when I would leave, she would point out how well they were growing, and did I want to cut some to take home with me?
These pics were made last summer, but Pop (with Joy’s help) has replanted all the flowers. It looks so pretty, and Mother would be so pleased. He takes good care of them. Bless his heart, he honors my Mama’s memory so well.
She showed up at my house several years ago…when I lived on Saddlewood. And, she said, “Come on, Tonja Lynn, we’re going to dig up that spot by the driveway and put in these hosta. They are from Mama’s(Granny Merritt) yard. I put all I could in my yard.” And, we went out and dug up the little triangle of dirt and grass between the driveway and the garage and we put those bulbs into the Alabama dirt. She said, “You’ll be proud when these come up next year. They’ll be real pretty.” And, I though to myself, “we’ll see.” But, when those green shoots started poking up through the soil…I was indeed happy to see them. And, every year, more and more came up and Mom came back and we divided them. And, they continued to grow their beautiful green variegated hearts out. And, I would plant little white impatiens in between them. Oh, they were pretty.
We have since moved to the Creek House and Adam and Suzanne have moved to the Saddlewood house. I told Suzanne early on that I was coming to get some of my hosta bulbs when it was the right time. And, some of the iris bulbs in the front. But, I will leave enough of them that she can point to them one day and say, “These came from your Great Great Grandmother’s yard. And, they were tended by your Great Grandmother and your Grandmother…and me.”
And, right out on the driveway, I had a little cry with Ian, and he hugged me tight and said, “It’s all right.” And, it was, all right, I mean. I told him, “Thank you for bringing these memories to mind today. You reminded me of something very sweet.”
And, I turned him loose, he kissed my cheek and drove out of the drive way…and turned back to see me waving….and he went over the bridge and out of sight.
I stood there, looking at my hydrangeas and remembering for a few more minutes. I shed a few more tears and went into the house…came to the computer and began writing while this was fresh on my mind.
I am my mother’s daughter. As different as we were, we were very alike. I am her daughter, and I am my Granny T’s and Granny Merritt’s granddaughter, and I am my Aunt Marie’s, and Aunt Evelyn’s, and Aunt Della’s niece.I was DIL to Elizabeth. I am SIL to Beth and June. And, I am the mother to Adam Ryan, Alex Townsend, and Ian David and mother in law to sweet Suzanne. I am aunt to Tara and Lori. I am aunt to Jim and Dan and Todd and Stan and Kim. I am great aunt to baby John Thomas.
And, I will show them all my beautiful hydrangeas when they leave my house. And I will wave to them as they drive across the bridge and out of site. One day they will read this (I hope) and realize that they come from a long line of strong women. Women who did wonderful things with their time. They were women who raised their families well. And, they still had time to grow beautiful flowers!
Adam and Suzanne came over this afternoon and we spent time together with them. They brought me the most beautiful vase in the perfect shade of orange! Love it! Suzanne has exquisite taste!
Alex was unable to be up at all today. He did manage a “Happy Mother’s Day”. Bless his heart, he is in so much pain these days.
I received a beautiful card from Don.
And, Tara and Will had Baby Dedication at their Church yesterday. Joy and Tommy and Pop all were there, and Will’s Mom and Dad and Brother and SIL and children. John Thomas is a blessed little boy to be surrounded by so much love and by so many people to teach, guide, and direct.
And, these are the things that happened…and were remembered…on this Mother’s Day 2010.