Time doesn’t play favorites or make exceptions. Sooner or later, the passage of time catches up with everyone. I was reminded of this on Mother’s Day. My husband and I, along with several siblings and spouses, converged on my mother’s house to do some yard work for her. It was a chance to gather and enjoy the holiday, but it was also a chance to do things an 80+ woman can’t do for herself anymore.
This resulted in my sad observation about the day. Time doesn’t detour around anyone. Nearly my entire life, my mom was known for her enormous flower beds. (Some of you thought I was going to say she’s known for her baking. She is, but that’s a different blog.) I grew up on the farm where she still lives. Large yards meant lots of room for flower beds. After we all grew up and left home, we joked that the flower beds were getting bigger every time we came back.
Now, the reverse is happening. The last few summers, she has been shrinking her flower beds. She can’t handle working outside in hot weather like she used to, and doesn’t have the stamina to maintain them all anymore. Last year, she eliminated a long flower bed which sprawled along one edge of the yard for as long as I can remember. This year, she eliminated a raspberry patch and about half of another huge flower bed which was there forever.
Our biggest task this past weekend was to rip out a large bed of peonies and another large bed of day lilies. I’m not sure how old the lilies were, but the peonies were planted by the farm’s previous owner before my parents moved in 55 years ago. The entwined roots were enormous after all those years; some were 2-3 inches in diameter. A few years ago, my fiercely-independent mother would have been out there with a shovel, trying to dig them up herself. While it’s sad to see her becoming frailer, I’m glad she is smart enough to ask other people to do jobs like that now.
A woman who is turning 84 in a couple weeks has earned the right to expect her children to help her out, and we are happy to do it. But it is sad to realize how much time has slipped past her. I only hope she is able to host us in her home for many more Mother’s Days to come.
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