Watching my children grow, and caring for them, has brought the greatest joy to my life. My children were five and eight when they experienced their first spring in Colorado. Thankfully, we had purchased a house that was lovingly cared for by a couple who enjoyed gardening, so after enduring that first winter with a curtain of icicles hanging from the roof, blizzard winds swirling several feet of snow, and temperatures that created an inch of ice around the inside edges of each window; spring arrived. Well, according to the calendar, anyway. That first spring day brought a low of zero and a foot of snow!
After it cleared, all of the previous owners’ hard work came to fruition. The buried treasure yielded a wealth of life. Tulips literally burst forth from the ground that had held them prisoner in its frozen clutches for several months. I was watching my daughters the morning they discovered that violets had magically bloomed along the bottom of the fence. That image of those precious little girls bent over a bed of violets has stayed with me all these years. Their soft, smooth, sweet little hands reached down and carefully gathered handfuls of tiny purple flowers. When they came into the house, they beamed as they handed me their treasures. They had picked them just for me!
Over the years, I’ve received handfuls of violets, tulips, dandelions, and other assorted flowers. And rocks! Pretty rocks. And beautiful red, gold, yellow, and orange leaves, along with countless bits of paper, sequins, bird feathers, and various objets d’art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but mothers have a way of seeing beauty in what delights their child.
I have far more artwork than rocks. (Yes, I kept some rocks! They were important rocks. They were special to my children, so they were special to me.) I can still see my kids sitting at the table in the breakfast area; painting, drawing, and coloring. I have stacks of drawings of animals that look more like some alien life-form, ducks that are painted with every color of the rainbow, pastel rainbows, dogs with no ears, and people with mutant shapes. Somewhere in my vast collection of treasures are stories that my oldest wrote and illustrated when she was in second grade. I even have their ceramic creations in my China cabinet.
You can’t describe a child without using the word “imagination”. They see the world through eyes that are experiencing it for the first time. They try to imitate what they see, whether by action, by drawing, or by telling a story. When I open my boxes of treasures, I still see those little hands creating, coloring, picking flowers, and writing stories. I hear their voices talking to each other and to me. Each of those moments goes into the adult that child will become. They are important treasures for both the child and the one who loves them. When I look at my grown children, I see them as a compilation of treasures. I see them as gifts from God; to be held closely, loved, and respected. I see a lifetime of memories and a lifetime of treasures.
Long after I am gone, my children and grandchildren will still know that their mother and grandmother loved them unconditionally, respected them as individual human beings, and would have given her life for them without giving it a second thought.
This Mother’s Day, I won’t be celebrating myself. I’ll be celebrating my family. They are the reason I am a mother, and they are the reason I celebrate Mother’s Day.