spring and mothers

SPRING AND MOTHERS

Yesterday I spent most of the day raking leaves in our yard. The yard did not really need raking, but it was the first day warm enough to be outside and enjoy it, and I wanted the exercise.

Iowa

The birds are back! We regularly see chickadees, crows, and wrens but they have recently been joined by an assortment of jays, robins, and sparrows. While I was raking, my partner was practicing with his band in the basement of the house. I could hear rock and roll songs I love and sang along, but the music did not drown out the carols of the birds. How perfect is that?

As I raked, I found the starts of spring blooms poking through the ground and rejoiced that it won’t be long, and they will be in full bloom! Spring is a wonderful time in Iowa, and it is mesmerizing to watch the trees bud and leaf or see the lilac blooms pop along with gladiolas, tulips, Lily of the Valley, and daffodils or crocus. So many colors! I love to sit on the front porch and just take it all in. Yesterday as I sat in the sun, I embraced the sights and sounds of spring and gave thanks.

Arizona

Although I grew up in Iowa, I consider Arizona my home and I love the wide expanse of sky and the almost constant sun. I was a new mother when we moved to Arizona, and I told myself that I would grow to love brown. What I was not expecting were the many colors that complemented the brown and the variation of climate and vegetation from one part of the state to another.

Arizona also blossoms in the spring—wild poppies along Picacho Peak, lavenders and pinks along the roadside, purple shades of sage and jacaranda trees, and yellow blooms of the palo verde and acacia trees. Cacti are another story! When the cactus bloom it is a sight to behold! Every variety—saguaro, barrel, cholla, prickly pear, etc.—has a different color bloom.

North Carolina

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the six years I lived in North Carolina and the spring beauty there. A good friend from my days in NC called me this week to tell me she was headed to the Azalea Festival in Wilmington. What memories that brought! The azalea colors are spectacular—purples, reds, pinks, oranges, and white. When they are in full bloom it is like living in a garden. Some of the blooms I found in NC are ones I grew up with in Iowa—lilacs and hydrangeas—but there are others that I discovered—crape myrtle and magnolias, for example. NC is where I discovered the true hardiness of pansies.

New Life

Spring also brings new life. In Iowa, we regularly have deer roam through our yard. Although they are not welcomed by everyone (and they did eat half of our evergreen bushes to the nip), I love to see them. Last spring, we watched two foals learn to forage under close supervision of their mother. The three were regular visitors throughout the summer.

I already mentioned the birds that we love to watch. We have two huge maple trees in our front yard that serve as a home to them and the squirrels. The squirrels play “chase and go” and are always so busy. Of course, the rabbits also love the yard and are fun to watch. We witnessed our first rabbit fight last summer. Who knew? In a way, those maple trees serve as a buffer from our neighbors and, when I sit on the front porch, I feel like I am watching my private fauna and flora show.

Mothers

No wonder it is this time of year that we celebrate motherhood, and the caring and nurturing mothers provide. You may not have had a strong mother figure in your life or no mother at all. Maybe your nurturing came from a grandparent or aunt or sister or neighbor or teacher. No matter, I have no doubt that the role that a special person made in your life made a difference.

My mother’s name was Pearl. When they named her, I bet my grandparents did not know the meaning of pearl—a person or thing of great rarity and worth. Perhaps they did know and chose to not only honor her but also set an expectation. In my estimation, my mother was every bit a pearl! I wrote a little about her history in my blog, A Tribute, and know that she brought joy and healing to many, many lives. 

Mom loved flowers and planted many different types in our yard so we could enjoy the colors. I think one of her favorites was gladiolas. She and my dad also had a big vegetable garden, and our family reaped the benefit through the winter from her canning, and later, freezing. Mom did not hesitate to offer the fruits of their labor to others also. She was always willing to share, sometimes garden produce and sometimes a meal or a casserole (that favorite Mid-Western tradition).

My mother had a beautiful soprano voice and was an excellent piano player as well. It was her we gathered around as a family to sing together. She shared her talent through church choir and was a soloist at many church and community events. She was active in women’s groups and when she hosted in our home, we hoped she would make ham salad! Yum!!

Daughters and Grandmothers

I was blessed with two sons, so my daughters are “in-law”. That does not make them any less dear to me. Although their personalities are different, each is special in her own way. I appreciate the love and care they both received growing up from their mothers and, although one is deceased, I know their mothers are cherished and honored. I have come to realize that daughters have a different relationship with their mother than sons have with their mother, but there is no difference in how close a mother feels to each child. If you have children, I bet you agree!

My parents and my husband’s parents lived thousands of miles from us, but I always felt their love and support. They set an example as grandparents that I try to emulate.  I did not have the privilege of knowing either of my grandmothers, however, and I felt that I missed something. Therefore, I vowed to have as close a relationship as I could with my grandchildren. I feel so honored to have six beautiful grandchildren, three from each family. One family is in Arizona and the other in Florida, so right now I look forward to the times we spend together via FaceTime. A real, in person, visit is a treasure and I try to record those memories in a special place in my mind for retrieval later.

 “Adopted” Family

I am now in a relationship with a wonderful man and am learning about his mother, Ardith, who is deceased. She too was a special person and dearly loved. Ardith was talented in different ways than my mother—she was a gifted seamstress and quilter. I am told that she would provide almost all the food for their family reunions preparing dishes in advance and freezing them. She also organized family competitions, dividing the family into groups, and then creating games for them to play. Those memories are treasured, and the pictures make me smile. My partner’s daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren bring added joy to my life and, since they live within driving distance, we get to enjoy their company more frequently.

No matter if your mother is via birth or “adopted” in some manner, this is a special time to honor the value they added or add to your life. Spring is a time for new life, beauty surrounds us, and it is easy to feel love and loved. I hope you give the special “mothers” in your life extra love and a big hug!

Happy Mother’s Day!

~Beverly J Bowers, CFP®

 

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