I'm sure we all have lots of memories about Mothers Day and that's the reason why I'm writing about it. Not only does it give us a chance to look back, but we can also reflect on some very happy times in our lives.
But...do you know what stands out most vividly to me when I think about this special day? Orchids...
Remember those orchid corsages the stores used to get right before Mothers Day? Well, you guessed it...I always made certain Mom had one, because to me, as a child, it represented her "special day". Funny, how important something like that can become in your life...no matter what age you are. As a child, I couldn't WAIT till Dad and I would go shopping, and how I'd fret...worried there might not be any left by the time we got to the store. And then I'd stand...chewing on my lip, trying my best to decide which color to pick. Should it be white or lavender? Should the bow match the flower...which one smelled the best?
Of course mom never let on she knew she was getting the corsage. She'd always act so surprised and make a big fuss over how wonderful it smelled and how beautiful it was. The thing is, is how important she made ME feel. She'd sweep me into her arms and give me a tremendous hug all the while telling me it was perfect. And like any true, devoted mother, she'd wear it from sun up to sun down....no matter what she was doing or where she was going....there it would be, pinned to her lapel.
But, as with all things in life, a part of growing up is letting go of things, and thus was the case of the orchid corsage. What seemed like a wonderful, clever thing to do at age 8, now seemed ridiculous to a teenager. Besides, I wanted mom to see me as I saw myself....a sophisticated, worldly adult. So by the time I had hit my teens those orchid corsages were a thing of the past. In fact, it became a standing joke since I would always tease her about "mom vision". I'd make comments like..."Isn't it amazing how, in all those years you never once noticed that big old plastic container sitting there on the shelf in the fridge? And yet you'd always notice the socks and shoes on the floor, or that I 'forgot' to make my bed?" She'd just grin and say...."really?"
It continued this way for many years. Instead of the tacky corsage, I'd always try to find something uniquely 'her'. Something I thought she'd like...something that would make her know how very much I loved her. Then one year, as a joke, I decided to replay the "good old days". So for old time sake I bought her an orchid and snuck it into the fridge so she'd find it first thing the next morning. To be honest, I expected to hear gales of laughter...a snicker...or at the very least an "oh good grief". But, I didn't. All I heard was this long drawn out silence.
Finally, I couldn't stand it. I had to find out why I wasn't hearing the expected chuckle. I know it seems silly, but I was actually thinking there might possibly BE such a thing as "mom vision" and she had somehow overlooked it. But, I was wrong. There she stood holding that silly plastic box, with tears streaming down her face. To this day I'll never forget the look of utter joy reflecting in her eyes or how her hands shook as she pinned it to her bathrobe.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, even though we grow up, we don't have to let go of the important things...or the things that mean the most to someone. I don't know what mom thought when she opened that door and saw that corsage laying there, but I do know that the years melted away for both of us. I wasn't an adult, I was a child of 8, chewing on my lip wondering if I had picked the right one. And as always, mom knew just the right thing to say..."Oh honey....it's perfect".
Amazing, isn't it? How something started out as a joke and became a lifetime revelation? To this day, mom always gets an orchid corsage on Mother's Day. And though she may not be able to tell me, I can easily replay the way it used to be. True the fridge is gone, but not the heart nor the hands who willingly pin the sweetest flower onto the dress of my mother. But, do you know what the best thing is? When it's finally time to whisper what's most important..."It's perfect, mom, and so are you."
(c) Marsha Penington 2000