I enjoyed reading this post from ten years ago. I think of it every single Mother’s Day. I hope you enjoy it too.
Original post on May 9, 2010 called “A Gift for Every Mother You Know.”
Today was chilly, windy (hair in my face no matter which way I pushed it around), and gloomy. We drove out into the country to a far-off nursery to buy some berry bushes for my latest gardening adventure. And when I say country, I mean country. The roads were unmarked, narrow, and tumbling over the landscape like an afterthought. A creek skipped by on the right, and cows fed in fields on the left. They were so close to my window I thought I might reach out and pat a nose.
Eventually, we arrived at huge nursery. We left the car, met the wind and cold, and, hunching down and running, we slipped into the first greenhouse. Immediately, warmth. My daughters sighed with pleasure and stretched their arms. Everything here seemed abundant: the moist air, the fragrance of blooming things, the tangle of vines and hanging plants overhead. I looked at all the gorgeous flowers and thought of the ripping winds outside. They’d have never made it without this greenhouse. Standing there, seeing that little Eden of beauty set against the gloom and fierce wind, I thought of—not flowers—but people. More specifically, I thought of mothers.
I think of the moms I see that remind me of myself back then. I see the vacant stare, the lifeless smile, the numb conversation of a mom who is just trying to get a warm shower and go to the bathroom without somebody crying. Beneath the exhaustion, the stained t-shirt, and the post-pregnancy figure, there’s a woman in there–vibrant, sassy, powerful. There’s something in her that wants to bloom.
If only she had a greenhouse–a little paradise to keep her safe and warm so she could grow too. If only we could create the conditions that help her put down strong roots, stretch high out, and bloom, bloom, bloom.
What does a mom need? She needs to be protected and nourished so she can fully develop into the woman she’s supposed to be. She needs friends who ask her about her ideas and her dreams; she needs a community who will spur her on and enable her to take risks in any direction she chooses. A mom needs people who don’t limit her scope, who don’t assume anything about her, and who recognize that she is a growing thing–like a tender vine in a greenhouse. Our children aren’t the only people that need to grow in our homes. Babies aren’t the only people that need swaddling.
If a mom doesn’t grow and ripen, she shrivels. Moms need communities that value her spiritual, physical, social, emotional, and (if she wishes) her professional growth.
As I stood in the greenhouse today, I thought of how much I want moms everywhere to live with flair. A great Mother’s Day gift (that we might give all year to every mom we know) is the mindset that the mother you see wants to grow too. The roads are unmarked for her; she’s out in a far country. Motherhood can be her time to shrivel or bloom. Get her to the greenhouse!