I brought flowers to Mom this week. Springtime stems of forsythia, dogwood and lilac. It’s too early for the real thing – but silk is fine.
March was Mom’s favorite month, and on the first mild day of the month she would say the same thing: “It is going to be beautiful soon!” Her eyes would meet mine with sunbeams of serenity. I smiled each year and basked in the warmth of her excitement.
It was a long drive to Mom’s place. The day blew across my windshield in frigid bursts, warmed here and there by late winter sunshine.
Bits of dry, dead leaves that had forgotten to turn to dust swirled along the edges of the blacktop road. Gray tree trunks. Dull patches of old grass whose color had been stripped away by months of cold snow and pelting rain.
But it is March – the month that promises more than it can ever deliver. And although it seems impossible now, I know that within weeks these barren fields leading to Mom will begin to sprout new life: push away the sad colors and burst into smiles of spring.
Finally there. Wind tickled my neck as I pulled on my tired winter coat and walked around to the passenger’s seat to collect the bouquet. Gravel crunched under my feet like cricket chirps.
I gripped the mass of flowers in both hand; the bouquet was much too large this year. I wanted just the right blend, so I had added stem after stem, balancing colors and juggling choices. I whispered to myself and dug into memories of Mom’s favorites. ‘She’ll like these.’ and ‘too much yellow; she wants purple’. Before I knew it, my tiny bouquet had grown to a bush.
I imagined what her reaction would be. She would stare for a moment or two and then her hand would fly to her chest, warming her heartbeat. Her lips would open into a smile brighter than the sunshine overhead.
She’d reach toward them – and me – with the hand left free from heart-holding and touch them. Tiny, soft taps from practiced fingers that had spent a lifetime coaxing smiles and encouraging growth from reluctant, stubborn seedlings.
Her eyes would meet mine, brimming with words and love neither of us needs to say.
I carried the flowers with two hands, reaching toward the headstone as if a set of hands waited. I was a child, bringing home a glued and colored valentine. A blue ribbon from a race. A coloring page with the words, “TO MOM” carefully printed in crayon across the top.
And as I bent toward the sun-warmed bronze vase, offering my springtime gift with a tearful grin, I could see and hear and feel Mom’s words.
Every March of every year, from now until forever.
“It’s going to be beautiful soon!”
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