Monday, December 20, 2021

12 Days of Christmas: My Mother's Garden

Mom's garden in May.

I grew up in a black-and-white house in suburban Totowa, NJ. Our backyard was large enough to pass for either a baseball diamond or football field... at least when you're a 10-year-old boy.

It's been many years since then, and it was not long after I went away to college that Mom embarked on an ambitious project to transform much of the yard into a garden.

Mom was born with movie-star good looks, and she has always liked to surround herself with pretty things. She particularly loves seeing her colorful garden in full bloom.

Blooming in July.
Even though Mom is getting older, she insists on tending the garden herself. Beginning this year, I sometimes received text alerts from ADT whenever she was outside in the spring and summer. As she worked in the dirt, she would accidentally hit the button on her emergency-call pendant.

Still, those false alarms have been a small price to pay for the joy her garden brings.

This year, like every other, when I would stop by for a visit, Mom would sometimes say, “Bobby, I want you to take photos of my garden.”

Sometimes, too, she would ask me to post these images on Facebook, so homebound and far-away friends could admire her handiwork.

Tomorrow is the first day of winter, and Mom's 90th birthday is next month. She keeps talking, with anxious anticipation, about wanting to see my Dad again. Dad died 16 years ago, so this refrain is a constant reminder that Mom will soon be planting flowers she will not see bloom.

While this makes me sad, I admire my mother's desire to continue to tend her garden. I also envy her faith in a better life to come.

It relates to something a kindred spirit with movie-star good looks once said.

Like Audrey Hepburn, Mom understands that to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

Mom's garden in December.

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