I have watched with envy as fellow gardeners have posted photos of their blooms on Facebook. I haven't had blooms to post, and I've been absurdly sad about it. It is spring, after all, so where are my blooms??? I had begun to think those Arctic temperatures had stolen all my flowers.
Several days ago, my azaleas finally burst forth in an amazing profusion of flowers and colors. Today, my first Iris bloomed at last, with bulging buds that will open soon. The rose on the trellis has leafed out, and roses won't be far behind.
The flowers are beautiful and I've worked hard to build a colorful garden over the last quarter century, but what I love most about my flowers in this spread-over-too-many-acres-to-contain garden is not the beauty. It's not the springtime color. It is the connection to my family. My grandmother had beautiful irises in her backyard, and my Aunt Olene had a yard full of the most breathtaking azaleas imaginable. The rose on the trellis is a cutting from my grandaddy's prized rose, rooted for me by my dear cousin Skip. The peony was a Mother's Day gift from Ryan years ago.
The flowers look like family to me. They remind me of my roots (literally and figuratively), and the people I hold so dear. There is no telling how many stories Ryan has heard about my grandmother that began with, "My grandma had irises like these..." The flowers have helped to bring his ancestors to life in the stories they've brought forth. I've told him all the flower stories, of course, but the stories about how my grandaddy worked at the Borden milk plant and my grandmother took in boarders to survive the depression have been in there, too.
As I wandered through the flowers this afternoon and thought about the lesson of the blooms, I've wondered what stories Ryan will tell about my flowers. What stories about my character, my perseverance through trials will these flower trigger? Whatever he tells, I hope the stories will include tales of my faith and the wonderful ways I've seen God work.
Maybe, just maybe I'm passing it on. At spring break, Ryan asked, "Hey Mom, can I have some of your rosemary you rooted? I found an abandoned patch of ground near my apartment, and I thought I could plant a little garden there." I can hear it now. Every time he passes that abandoned lot, he'll be saying, "That's my mama's rosemary growing there". If not out loud, at least I hope he's saying it in his heart, which I where I most want to be.