Mother’s Day has begun the same way for years. Weeks beforehand there are loads of advertisements for all kinds of gifts including a nice quiet dinner out. When our children were younger, anything quiet sounded pretty good to me.
Every year the kids would ask, “What do you want for Mother’s Day?” And always I would respond, “A clean house.” They would shake their heads and say, “No, what do you really and truly want?” Well, what I really and truly wanted was a clean house. But it was a losing battle.
It wasn’t that the children were unwilling to help clean, it was just that it never all got done at the same time. By the time one room was clean the others were a mess again.
Two things I always got way back then from the kids were homemade cards and home grown flowers. The bouquets were plucked from vacant lots in the neighborhood and from our own yard. Every possible container was full of lilacs, red bush and dandelions.
The dandelions were from our yard. Some people think of them as weeds. We preferred to think of them as flowers. This way we didn’t feel so guilty for letting them grow, and without them the yard would have been bare. It was hard for grass to grow when so many feet kept running over it.
Usually in the place of honor on the coffee table in the living room, was an almost opened tulip. We only had one which tried valiantly to bloom every year. It was always nipped in the bud by the resident 3 year old, but it looked lovely floating in a cereal bowl. It wouldn’t stay in a conventional vase because 3 year olds pick just flowers—no stems.
Every one of our children who could write, draw or scribble would give me a handmade card on Mother’s Day. I remember one with a big red tulip on the cover. Inside the verse began with, “Mother, dear Mother, I give you a rose…”
The older brother snorted, “You don’t even know the difference between a rose and a tulip!”
“I do too,” was the instant response, “but I don’t know how to draw a rose.”
Big brother had produced an interesting card. On the outside it said, “This is my favorite sport.” Inside he had glued a piece of foil which reflected me when I opened the card.
“Thank you, that’s really a cute idea,” I smiled.
“Yeah, do you get it? My favorite sport. That means a good guy. You know, like Dad.” Then he added, “Oh, happy Mother’s Day!”
One gift I’ll always remember was delivered by one toddler. He watched the parade of his brothers and sisters presenting me with cards and flowers. Finally he approached me with a beautiful big smile and both hands behind his back.
“Oh, did you bring Mommy a present?” I held out my hand, so enchanted by his smile I didn’t even look at his hands. I should have. He plopped a fistful of apple sauce into my open hands. At the time it was his favorite food. I thanked him profusely and silently vowed again to clean off the table as soon as we were finished eating.
Things are a little different now. We actually have green grass growing in both the front and back yards.
There are some flowers which have a good chance of coming to full bloom, as long as they don’t get in the lawn mower’s path, but they are hardly ever picked. We can go out or stay home for a nice quiet dinner just about any time we choose.
But some things are still the same. There are still beautiful cards, but they are store bought or computer generated. Sometimes there are flowers they plant in the yard. There are gifts that are lovely and thoughtful.
Best of all, there are still happy Mother’s Days.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate May 9, 2001.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.