The sun had been out just long enough to warm the breeze and tempt me outside. I pulled a few weeds, filled the bird feeders and dusted off my pots for the front porch. I had been eyeing some annuals at Shopko the other day and decided to drive down and pick out my Summer 2010 flower pot flowers.
I browsed the garden shop parking lot aisles, I felt the textures of the different plants and soaked up the magnificence of standing in the middle of a blacktop Eden. I picked up a color of geranium I hadn't heard of and gently tried to pry open a blossom to find it's true color. I've always hated planting the same combination year after year and decided to take a risk and buy 'Bullseye Salmon' this year.
As I was studying the foxgloves, a gust of wind carried the ever so slight scent of my mom to me. I wasn't surprised that she was at the Garden Shop. I turned to see an older woman with 'beauty shop' hair pushing a cart and studying the rose bushes.
Every year my mom would smuggle home plants over the course of the summer, hurrying to plant them (or hide them) before my dad noticed the purchase. My mom always had room for just one more six-pack (of petunias) somewhere in her yard. Because my dad was tending a large fruit orchard, the immediate yard around our home was my mom's domain. As planting became more difficult, she would wait for (or sometimes recruit) a child or grandchild to plant them for her as she sat on a lawn chair and supervised the placement.
Lisa, Vanessa & Lauren - Grandma Bezzant's front flower bed - Summer 1998
Lauren, Lisa, Vanessa & Mom - Summer 1998
As I became more confident and knowledgeable about perennials, I tried to wean my mom off petunias and marigolds. She gradually added perennials to her beds but always found room for her beloved petunias. The large flower beds were augmented by multiple flower pots by the living room and kitchen doors and she generously sprinkled every size of flower pot around the patio. She even managed to figure out a way to hang pots from the patio covering and shepherd's hooks by the aspens. More than one person found the low hanging pots with their heads as they maneuvered around the patio.
My love and knowledge of flowers and gardens was instilled in my by my mother and grandmother. Both loved their homes, their families, the gospel and their flower gardens.
My front flower bed at my Pleasant Grove home - Spring 1998
You see, my mom has been gone for over six years now. She wasn't there physically in the Garden Shop today but her influence and love were. They are as eternal as the bond between a mother and her child. It was a tender mercy to share a brisk May afternoon with my mother in the garden shop.
I think she would like the color combinations I brought home. I think they'll look great blooming next to my new lime green chairs. I even brought home some petunias in her honor.
My mom and Mr. W.'s mom had only brothers in their immediate families.
I think both had that inner yearning for a sister
who they could laugh with and cry with,
who they could discuss teething or testimonies,
someone who could look in to their eyes and hearts
and know instinctively what they needed.
They found those sisters in Relief Society.
I do not think it is accidental
that we are asked to refer to each other as 'sister'.
It defines a relationship that transcends age, address or accomplishment.
It is a relationship that denotes eternal ties that reach beyond the grave.
It is love, it is acceptance and it is the ability
to put another woman's interests before your own in her time of need.
A sister is a bit like a mother - a human lie detector -
who can see past our words and in to our hearts.
She is someone who follows promptings on our behalf.
She loves our children, tolerates our dog/cat
(even the anxiety-ridden, hair-pulling variety)
and is even willing to give us a 'kick in the pants' if necessary.
She is love with understanding.
She comes in to our lives with an open heart
and her eyes half-closed to our faults and short-comings.
She takes us 'as is' and loves us for it.
She understands her earthly opportunity to help another woman
through this mortal experience.
It is no wonder that we are called 'sisters in Zion'.
As Sister Hinckley remarked, "Oh, how we need each other."
I count myself blessed that at a time in my life
where one sister is physically remote
and my other sister is emotionally remote,
I have sisters next door, around the corner and down the block,
who love me and pray for me.
Sisters are one of God's greatest gifts to women.
I thank God every day that he has blessed
me with so many.