I was talking to my mom on the phone yesterday--she had just gotten back from spending the afternoon on a warm Hawaiian beach...very nice for her--and she asked me, "Are any of the flowers on the farm blooming? Are the rhodies blooming?" I confirmed that they weren't blooming. Few blooms around here except the lilac bushes, which are, in fact, quite lovely.
My mom was relieved. She didn't want to miss the blooming of the rhododendrons. They really make the place look amazing.
I didn't mention, since she would have seen them before she left for vacation anyway, that there is quite the distinguishable shade of yellow blooming all around the duck ponds and the creek.
And if you happen to walk by the distinguishable shade of yellow you will also encounter a distinguishable scent. The scent of skunk. Coming from the skunk cabbage.
Most people hate the scent of skunk, but my sister and I agree that we find the smell kinda comforting. It's true. To you it's just a stinky roadkill; to us it's the smell that reminds us of home.
It's not that we especially like skunk cabbage or anything, but here on the Family Farm--where a significant portion of the land is swamp--we have more than our fair share of skunk cabbage growing about. And when we played in the swampy areas as kids, the smell that surrounded us from March to September was the faint smell of skunk. So now? The scent of skunks brings back memories of our childhood summers. The smell of skunk reminds us of home (though you won't catch me buying a candle scented with skunk cabbage).
I was thinking today that though we'd probably prefer to associate motherhood more with this--
rather than this--
I think moms and skunk cabbage have something in common.
I better explain.
The skunk cabbage produces heat, and it's this trait which enables it to survive in the winter. The snows may fall, but the skunk cabbage's little heater keeps going and helps to melt the snow around it. This heat allows the skunk cabbage to be one of the first flowers to appear in spring, allows it to have the largest leaf of any native plant. It's big; it's strong; it's warm.
I like to think that we moms try to have this ability too. We make sure the ground around us stays warm. We make sure that our love is big and strong and the first thing our baby clings. Because of our kids, we know that no matter how icy our life gets, how cold and damp we might feel sometimes, we still keep going. We still keep everything warm.
Of course, we don't always know what life's groundwork is going to bring us.
Like Erin, it might joyfully unexpectedly place a baby in our arms two days before Mother's Day.
Like Abby, it might mean celebrating our child's life, ended too soon, the day before Mother's Day.
Like Amanda, it might mean listening to the heartbeats you've been waiting to hear for years.
It gets cold. It gets warm. We keep going.
We're skunk cabbages, Moms. We might like to thing we're roses or tulips or daisies or daffodils. And certainly in a way our life is full of all those beautiful flowery moments. But sometimes we're not so pretty, and sometimes we might even be downright stinky. That's how life is. The beauty is that we keep going because we love our child so stinkin' much.
Happy Mother's Day, friends. Here's to keeping the ground warm.