Yesterday was Marge’s birthday, and I’ve been stressed all week about what to give her for a present. She’s creeping closer to ‘a big one’, which means we still has a couple of years to go until we have to purchase the #8 and #0 balloons. I wanted to give her something meaningful or useful, or at the very least, sort-of clever. She has everything she needs or wants, and I didn’t want to buy her something just for the sake of being able to hand her something with a ribbon on it.
After much angst, it hit me. I called Eddie and told him the good news. I knew what we could buy Marge. (The sad reality? What this really meant was ‘I’ have a good idea and need ‘YOU’ to take care of making it happen. See how the ‘we’ works in our relationship?) Always ready to get things done, Eddie nailed it.
Sounds weird, right? It’s ok. I’m with you…it’s bizarre. Except once I tell you this story, you too will understand why an absurdly large bouquet of fake flowers was perhaps the perfect present for Marge.
My mother has always had an exceptional green thumb, both indoors and outside. Her house plants flourish like no one’s business. She could take a plant that was on its last legs, snip off a stem, plop it in water, and within weeks, grow a new plant. I could never understand it…how was it that I could kill a plant by over-watering it, and she could grow a plant by keeping it permanently IN water??? It’s a mystery, one I still don’t understand.
Her gardens outside are always well-coiffed, blooming, and for the most part, weed-free. Every time we moved when we were growing up, she would get to work, planting, digging, re-locating…you name it. In later years, when her gardens were in good shape, she would turn her attention to whatever happened to be going on outside my house. Wilson, Max and Eloise have sat under the shade of a tree and looked at her with curiosity as she planted herself down in the middle of their excavation site (aka our perennial garden) and stayed there all morning, pruning, clipping and weeding. Actually, truth be told, Wilson never sits. Period. Pretty sure he was right next to her, helping her make progress by eating and digging up whatever she was trying accomplish.
As the years have gone by, Marge’s green thumb has taken an interesting detour, otherwise known as plastic flowers. Marge has always loved a good joke with a dash of silliness just to make it more fun. One winter weekend maybe 8 years ago or so, Eddie and I went away and Marge watched the puppies while we were gone. We returned late at night, snow piled high around the house. The next morning I looked outside and saw huge red tulips sticking up out of a snowbank in the back of our house.
My first reaction, like any typical daughter, was irritation. It took the form of eye rolling and perhaps quiet muttering as I tromped outside to pull out the flowers. I don’t think I encountered any more fake flowers at our house until a couple of winters had past. When they returned, the eye rolling had dissipated a bit, and I remember actually cracking a smile.
Soon, plastic tulips showed up at her house too, some red, some yellow. The following summer, a pot of small fake purple flowers made their way into her back yard, nestled in with the real deal. Her collection of fake flowers isn’t overwhelming, but sometimes all you need is a little to make a strong statement.
What’s that famous line – if you can’t beat them, join them? Well, consider this my official white flag. Marge – you win. Your fake flowers hidden in the most random spots around your house make me really happy now, because they remind me of your spirited sense of humor and your affinity for all that is silly. Thanks for keeping our lives colorful, in every sense of the word.
Wishing you a year filled with lots of laughter, good health, and just the right amount of brightly colored flowers sticking out of your snow drifts.
Happy Birthday Mom!