After a blissfully cold winter, spring is finally here. We're not very sentimental folks. For Mother's Day the best thing I could get is time to do what ever I want. At this time of year that usually involves having my hands in the dirt.
There are plenty of gardens surrounding this old place. Some I have completely taken over in the ten years that we've lived here. Very little of the previous owner's choices remain in those beds.
Others continue to thrive despite being pruned with a lawn mower. With 13 acres surrounding us a full time gardener would have plenty to do. The long and short of it is that the gardens are never fully what they could be.
It's weird how the only time I think of Shirley is when I'm weeding out an over grown garden. Such judgement! I can hear her cluck her tongue. How careless. How thoughtless. Obviously I don't deserve such a wonderful home if I'm not going to take proper care of it. How could I have let it get so bad?
But Shirley is gone. Her gardens are full of weeds. Her precious home languishes on the market because it needs a new roof. I wonder if, as she slowly lost bits of herself in that last year, I wonder if she then realized that there is more to life than a clean house.
I wonder what she missed most. In our last conversation she confided that she thought that Amanda is not nearly good enough for Nate, just as I was never good enough for her son. Still measuring worth.
Who knows how much time we have. Shirley expected to be around to see all of her grandchildren graduate from college. She expected to bounce great grandchildren on her knee. Instead, her pride lead to a fall, the last of her mind squeezed off by the injury.
As I pull those weeds this summer, I know I will continue to hear Shirley's disapproval. But I'll shush her. The gardens may have been neglected while I was gone. But I'm back now, and I'm still here. And I'm pulling weeds because it gives me joy.