The best was to explain the phenomenon, Mother, is to start with what you know.
I recall the first mother’s day I celebrated. It was circa 1980, I was so excited because I was bringing home an African Violet plant that was in a styrofoam cup which accentuated the vibrant purple color of the flower. It was given out at the end of the school day. I was told this flower represented my love for my mother. It was so small in my child-like mind. Sure, it’s a very pretty flower, but it does not represent just how much I absolutely love my mother.
Feeling jaded somehow
Sparks fly in my mind as I walk home. I can still remember dismay and joy battling internally. I was so determined to figure a way to tangibly show my endless love for my mommy. I didn’t have enough time or any money. All I had, was this small, pretty African violet to give my mom. Ah ha! I can water this puny flower for sure water will make it grow.
If I watered it a whole bunch then it will grow faster and my flower will be the biggest and my mom will see just how much I love her. She will have the biggest best-est prettiest African Violet in the whole WORLD!
I started to run with a purpose as my plan starts to take shape
When I got home this is what I did.
- Just a little bathroom sink faucet water because it’s slower than the bath tub. I can’t reach kitchen sink. If I even try my Nana will see me and ruin the surprise.
- Sunlight. Oh it will need sun, so of course I put it in the sun for a whole 2 minutes. To me, two minutes was like 2 months. The flower still looked the same size. I remember the cool texture of the soil beneath my finger tips as I touched to see it was drinking the water I’d just given it. Nope It definitely needed more water and sunshine.
- Hurry because mom would be home soon. I knew this because the street lights were gonna come on soon.
- Back to the bathroom. More water faster, hmm. The tub! I placed the delicate flower down and turned the tub on full blast . As all the water came all the soil went down the drain.
OH, SUGAR HONEY ICE TEA! I was distraught and frantic.
I tried to scoop what little dirt remained that I could. I had to fix the damaged flower, that was supposed to represent my eternal love for my mother. Why and how could this happen. I was devastated. Yet, determined I could not let my mother down. I picked up the flower, broken styrofoam cup and what little potting soil that remained and went back to the window where my mom had other plants.
Yup, you guessed it.
I dug up her weird-looking green plant. I took soil I knew was better because her plants were perfect just like her. Plus she waters them all the time. I must have worked on replanting the African violet three times before I realized nothing was going to fix the big mess I had made.
So I got angry. Very very ANGRY.
I threw the African Violet to the floor and stomped on it. It did NOT represent my love for my mommy. It was full of trouble and disappointment.
All it did was make me feel like my love was too small for the best Mother in the world. Was this really the kind of daughter I was?
I looked around and saw the damage and destruction my efforts made.
I felt horrible. I remember looking at the once perfect symbol of my love for my Mother and realized I killed it, and took with it one of my other’s other plants. WHAT HAVE I DONE! I screamed. My cousin came running in and saw my state of despair, which became his enjoyment. He uttered these words to me,
You’re a plant murderer!
I lost it.
It felt like days upon days of me crying in hysterics. I mean soulful sobbing the whole time and me saying, “but my Mom deserves the best, I’m a plant and flower murderer?” I remember pulling my cousin to his knees to pray with me to God. Please Lord spare and save this poor African Violet, the weird green plant mom loved and my cousin adding to save my murderous soul. GOD could take as long as He needed to make both plants grow big and beautiful before my mother came home.
I was about to call 911 to report my crime spree, I shouldn’t be free after so much destruction. My mom deserved a daughter better than me. Then my mom walked in and said, “Nicolle, what’s wrong what’s going on?” I couldn’t do anything except stutter through shuttered tears and snotty face cries in my feeble attempt to explain how I messed up Mother’s day for her. When all I wanted to do was give her what she deserved… the BIGGEST and BEST symbol of love.
She picked me up and sat me on her lap and just rocked me until I was able to tell her what a catastrophic 3 hours had been for the African violet, weird green plant and her only daughter. I couldn’t look in her eyes as I told my tale. Those beautiful warm loving hazel eyes would not look at me the same I feared.
My mom, pulled my face to hers, and kissed my face and said, “look at me Nicolle, I love you not the flower or the plant, they can be replaced you can’t!”
For me its forgiveness kindness and unconditional love that a Mother gives to her children. What is given and received is the meaning of Mother.
I just pray my children receive and give Motherhood in abundance too.
Happy Mother’s Day 2017
Dedicated to my Mommy