The clay pots are set out, cleaned, and filled with fresh potting soil. A new bed is dug along the house, slowly, by hand with a pulaski because of all the rocks (a wheelbarrowful in the first 8 feet). But, no matter those aching hamstrings, because shasta daisies, echinacea, and other perennials, shared by friends who have too many, need a home here. I will make a place for them.
In late afternoon, I walk through the moist air in the local high school's greenhouse where the FFA students have plants for sale. The tomato plants are nearly as big as trees, the peppers are already producing baby fruits, and the marigolds are in full bloom.
My heart does a flip, though, when I see lavender, that lovely perennial that I'd promised myself I'd get a bunch of this year.
A box came in the mail. I'd been expecting it. Mom had told me she was sending her collection of crochet patterns and hooks that she'd gathered over the years. As I opened the box and slowly leafed through, the memories rushed back with every pattern that I recognized. So many things that she'd made when I was growing up. So many things that I'd made while I was growing up. Snowflakes and handbags, bookmarks and lace. And now all of it was mine.
This was a treasure.
A treasure that I kept only a portion of.
I chose to keep the skein of thread, the hooks, and just three pattern books. I kept only what I knew I would actually use. Choosing to give the tangible excess away didn't diminish the potency of the memory of my mom and her craft, instead, it gave me freedom to appreciate more the small amount that I kept. It somehow removed a subconscious pressure to make it all, do it all, use it all, be it all, when I knew I realistically couldn't and wouldn't. It helped me remain steadfast in my own identity and purpose.
I savored the memory, and chose freedom in the gift.
The beautiful thing is, there are more memories of my mom and my childhood years woven into my life than one box of crochet patterns could ever hold. The clay pots I always use for flowers on my step and plants in my house, I use because of her. Their aged beauty and simple form were a mainstay in her garden.
And lavender? The lavender she grew was fabulous. Mounds of purple filled our back yard flower gardens when I was growing up. The heady fragrance spoke of summer's heat and winter's sachets.
As I think about it, I realize that I could go on and on. So much in my life is there because of her, so much reminds me of her, so much has been passed down. When I recognize this richness and treasure that I already have, passing along the extra somehow becomes easier.
I buy all of it. All the lavender those students have for sale. Can you imagine? Into the beds along the house it'll go, right there with the white shasta daisies - a simple foundation planting that'll end up a little bit loose, a little bit wild.
Just like mama's garden.