I grew up going to the greenhouses with my dad to buy flowers.
And again, to buy vegetables.
I loved going: rows and rows of flowers, trees and shrubs. Pulling a little red wagon down the skinny aisle between greenhouses lined with peonies and poppies and other perennials. I loved peeping in each one to find flowers, vegetables, green plants -- and still do. It brings with it the warm feeling of familiarity. I loved working with my dad: mowing the lawn, planting the garden, working in the earth. Sometimes after a morning's work on a Saturday, we'd head down the street to the local drive-in where my mom got her daily refills of Diet Pepsi and he'd buy us a cheeseburger, fry and shake. Or a grape soda.
Whatever my fancy was.
It's funny how you turn around and you have the little people running around. I find myself wondering when it all happened, when those mornings with my father slipped away and I grew up and got my own yard.
Yesterday the children and I went with my dad to shop for flowers.
We go every year.
It's something I link so strongly with my father, time with him, tending and planting and looking for beauty.
I heart my dad.
He bought flowers for my birthday and let me choose out what I wanted.
The children each wanted flowers of their favorite colors, too, and he let them each pick something out to go in the yard.
Isaiah walked with me, pushing my cart.
Dad had the other two.
He bought stuff for his yard; I had a cart for mine.
We admired their huge tomato plants and he got some to put in at his house so he'd have some early harvesting.
We talked about buying red, yellow, orange and green pepper plants soon and splitting the packs up between us so we could have some of each.
We came home and planted the purchases, trying to beat the storm that was coming, dark clouds overhead.
Tending earth links me to lovely memories.
I hope my children will have these same associations, and remember time with me there.
That they'll love the earth, and making their homes beautiful with signs of growth and green and color.
And that they'll know it's a link to their mother and grandfather and great-grandmother and on and on.
I hope they see the witness of God and His creations in this quiet work.
It was windy and wet out last night and this morning there are blossoms and elm seedlings strewn everywhere outside.
But I stood inside, looking out the windows, admiring each newly planted pot, each bloom of color, the bright green and white stripe of a new hosta.