Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stealing Flowers.

Mother's Day is almost over, and I remembered that exactly twice today. Once was on a walk around Green Lake, a popular park in Seattle which boasts a very pedestrian-friendly 3 mile path circling the lake, and a lot of really lovely landscaping and places to hang out. It's a perfect place to people-watch, and Paul and I spend a great deal of time there, exercising our legs and our capacity for sarcastic comments. I realized today that I was seeing a lot of multi-generational family groups out walking and I thought, "Oh, right, Mother's Day", which accounted for the lovely grandmothers and mothers and children together.

May is also the month in which my Mother was born; May 1st to be exact. Her absolute favorite flower was the lilac, which usually bloom around the beginning to middle of May in Seattle. Since every year I strove to surprise her on her birthday with a bouquet of lilacs, I would wait anxiously as May approached, watching the lilac bushes to see if they would bloom in time. The only flaw in the plan was that we had no lilac bushes of our OWN. Every year I had to essentially commit a felony for my Mother, and steal lilacs from a neighbor's trees. I figured it was a victim-less crime, and no one seemed to mind, plus, Mom was thrilled every year to receive the fragrant flowers. (Stealing plants seems to be something I'm genetically inclined to do as I have a distinct memory as a very small child stripping the leaves from a neighbor's bush because they reminded me of cheese. My mother made me take them back and present them to the neighbor.) If they didn't bloom in time for her birthday due to a cold Spring, I would gather her a bunch for Mother's Day. Since childhood, the smell of lilacs remind me of Spring and of my Mother.

My mother has been dead now for over twenty years; the grief has faded and, as I've said, celebrating her birthday and Mother's Day is no longer a big deal. But I can't help but look for the lilacs every year. I have yet to live in a home in my adulthood that boasts a lilac tree, so every year I have continued to steal lilacs blooms from wherever I can find them - although I do try to stay out of people's actual yards, instead clipping a few that overhang the sidewalk, or looking for a bush in a park. Every year I have at least one small sprig in my home to remind me of my Mother, breathing in the sweet, wonderful fragrance. I have a sprig right now on my dressing table that has wilted, and outside, the lilacs are turning brown as Spring turns to Summer. The second time today that I remembered it was Mother's Day was this evening as I walked through our room and caught a last whiff of lilac. It doesn't cause me pain anymore, but it does give me a good memory.

To all of you out there who are lacking a parent during these special times like holidays and birthdays, even if your parent is still alive but lost in dementia - this post is for you. Take a moment to remember something special about you and your parent.

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