|I watched my daughter as she dug a small hole in the soil with her fingers and dropped in a Crocus bulb. She covered it over with the rich black dirt and gently patted it down. It was early spring and I was helping her plant some new flowers in her garden. It was something we did every year, planting new perennials so the garden was even more full the following year. Some would eventually die out but there would always be new flowers blooming.
“Isn’t everything just beautiful!” she exclaimed. It was more a statement than a question. Larissa was so proud of her garden, and I was so proud of her, in more ways than one. She was also a great mother and her two little children were running around the yard, excited to be outside again after a long winter.
“Do you remember how much I hated gardening when I was at home?” she asked.
I laughed. “I sure do.”
“I hated it when you made me get in the garden with you to pull weeds! I thought you were so cruel. I never once thought that you were helping me learn how to calm down. It wasn’t until I left home that I realized how much I missed those times with you in the garden. I knew I had to have one of my own.”
I remembered those times…
Larissa was a strong-willed child and her teenage years were hell on wheels. It was always hard trying to dissipate her anger, when she was in conflict with me. Yelling at her only made things worse and giving in would be a nightmare, so I would grab two pairs of work gloves and tell her, “we will finish this conversation in the garden.”
She yelled at me defiantly, “I don’t want to go to the garden!!”
“Tough,” I said looking at her. “I have some weeding to do and I’m wasting time in here, so you can help me in the garden, and we can finish the conversation there!”
My little girl who was always so sweet, and loved me so much, had grown into a teenage tornado of hormones! So many times I wished for that little girl back. She could now bring out the anger and the heartache in me.
Larissa angrily put on her gloves, and getting on her knees in the garden, started yanking weeds from the flower bed. I listened to her rant and rave about how life was so unfair; how her friends got to do more than she did and why couldn’t I be like everyone else’s mom. This went on for a good forty-five minutes before she finally fell quiet. We both continued to weed and trim flowers in silence. When we were done, we sat back on our haunches and admired how beautiful it looked.
“Wow, mom, everything is so pretty,” she said. The anger was gone and she already forgot she hated me.
“Yes it is,” I said. “Why don’t we clean up and go out to dinner? You pick”
“Awesome!” she said excitedly. “How about Red Lobster?”
“Sounds good to me,” I said. It was her favorite place. She chose it for her birthday or any other special occasion. Today was special enough for me. I watched her brighten up and the beautiful calm girl I knew, emerged. She ran into the house to clean up, and as I picked up the gloves and pruners, I looked around the garden and thanked God for something so beautiful and simple, that helped me with my daughter.
Flowers in every color and shape, filled the yard. They looked like bright jewels opening their blossoms to heaven. Being here among them and digging my hands in the soil calmed my spirit, it grounded me. I figured out a long time ago, that it might do the same for my daughter when she was all worked up. It did, but she wasn’t aware of it yet.
“Mom! Mom, what are you thinking about?” asked Larissa, jolting me from my memories.
I looked at my daughter and smiled. “Oh, just remembering those times in the garden.”
Larissa stood up, wiped her hands on her pants and took in the beauty of the flowers looking back at us. “I didn’t realize what you gave to me then,” she said. “Now I do. Thanks, Mom. I don’t know how you did it, I was such a brat. I’m glad you didn’t give up on me.” She reached over and gave me a big hug. “I love you mom.”
A lump formed in my throat and I choked up with tears. “I love you too honey, more than you can imagine.”
“No mom, I understand now.” She looked across the yard at her own two little babies chasing a frog and laughing. “I really understand now.”
My little girl had grown into a jewel herself. All that from a little gardening.