As much as I can't wait to get out and dig in the dirt, Spring is also sort of bittersweet time. It was in the spring, seven years ago, that my mom passed away. It was just a week after Easter, the holiday she loved most. In a way it's fitting, because I rejoice in the rebirth that Easter celebrates, and rejoice for my mom that she is 'home' where we'll all be together again one day. And yet, I still feel her absence like a hole in my heart. At this time of year, I miss the way we would plan our gardens, scouting out the local nurseries for plants and flowers. Unfortunately, I didn't inherit the green thumb that she had, so I would follow her around, waiting to see what went in her cart, and then grab the same thing.
Mom was a born gardener. She loved to putter around with starting her own seedlings and always found room for tomato plants, forever in search of the perfect tomato that would thrive in our clay-like Colorado soil. She had a gift for nurturing things and helping them grow, whether it was a child or a plant. A few weeks before she died, she had set out her trays of seeds as usual, and had started to transfer some of the seedlings into pots. She had a special tray for my daughter, Emily, who was just three years old at the time. Mom wanted Em to know the thrill of tending to her own plants and watching them grow. So, she bought her a little watering can, and everytime we went to see her (atleast several times a week, often daily), Mom and Em would water the container of marigold seeds. They sprouted slowly, but when they did, they took off and we could see their progress almost daily.
In the cloud of grief and numbness after Mom passed, someone had the presence of mind to go out to her little greenhouse to check the plants. There, along with the tray of marigold seedlings, were pots of pumpkin plants that were just starting to sprout. There were enough for all of the grandchildren to take home and plant in their gardens. In the fall, they all had pumpkins from Gram, and my brother saved some of the seeds, so that for several years after that, Gram sent the kids pumpkins. Emily's marigolds grew strong and hearty, and we planted them in the back yard where Em could tend to them all summer long. It gave me such peace to have those flowers in my garden, a little bit of Mom to be with us during that long summer. It's a bit like having her quilts to wrap around me, yet this is something that is living and growing. Something that she nurtured, something living, that I can care for. Now, don't get me wrong, as I said I do not have a green thumb. In fact, I've entrusted my sister-in-law (who does) with the ivy plant that was started from the little sprig of ivy in my wedding bouquet. Always with an eye on connecting the generations, Mom said that one day, my daughter would have a bouquet and a piece of the ivy would be tucked inside. However, she knew better than to give me the plant, and I'm sure she's breathed a great sigh of relief to know that Jenn has taken on its guardianship until the time comes.