Watching my mom garden is a little like watching Hercules work through his 12 labours.
But instead of wearing a lion’s skin, she slays overgrown rose bushes and parades around the house like she’s just won the Kentucky Derby.
Did I just call my mom a horse?
Workhorse, yes. This woman’s energy level is enough to power entire neighbourhoods.
She just spent a week with us, helping me with our three daughters as my wife travelled for work.
It was a rare treat to have her for Mother’s Day, since my parents and brothers live in Ottawa.
I don’t remember her having this much energy when I was a kid, but I don’t remember much about my childhood that didn’t specifically focus on me.
I mean, really, I was pretty important to myself.
She might have been doing all sorts of cool things during my teenage years, but unless it involved video games or basketball hoops, I likely wouldn’t have noticed.
“Gramma K” landed last weekend and we immediately set to work, planting tomatoes, peppers, something called a cucamelon, and various other vegetables our first day together.
You’ll have to Google that, but I promise a cucamelon isn’t grown in a lab.
But that little bit of light planting was small potatoes for her (pardon the pun, but we didn’t actually plant potatoes).
We had a great time, and were sad to see her off, mostly because she remained on Eastern time.
By the time I dragged myself from bed, she’d already watered the garden, fed my kids, and done some light carpentry.
I normally write while my girls are in preschool, and mom was happy to “putter” in the garden during that 2 ¼ hours last Tuesday.
When it came time to collect the girls, I peeked into the backyard to find her mopping her brow.
The one thing she’s not accustomed to is 25 C at 10 a.m. in mid-May.
It made me feel slightly guilty that she’d pulled back all the landscape fabric in our back garden, shovelled the landscape rock and restaked the garden edging.
Wait, is Son Guilt even possible?
She’d identified the mysterious white and yellow flowers, figured out how much to prune them and cut the barberry bush enough so it was off the ground instead of spilling this way and that.
Yes, all of that was in a single, two-hour timeslot.
She never wanted to be compared to my grandmother, but it’s getting harder to ignore the similarities.
Gramma Betty was born between the World Wars, raised during the Great Depression, and mothered six kids in a three-room farmhouse.
She obviously passed along her survival genes to my mother, but I’m not sure they landed in my DNA.
Perhaps it follows a maternal line.
Needless to say we miss her. I can only imagine this is what hiring a nanny must feel like, except my mom also paid for everything while she was here, plus did her share of cooking.
Goodness, I’m a loafer.
My friends suggest our parents do this because they don’t have the burden of kids day-to-day.
Of course that’s true, but she was doing all that AND raising my kids.
She enjoyed every second of it, likely spurred on by Mom Guilt for not being around us more.
Son Guilt really isn’t a thing, is it?
We were a little nervous about her trip, since she’s recovering from a troubling health scare a few months ago.
I’m glad she’s back on her feet, doing yoga at the gym most mornings, and generally keeping a positive attitude.
I’d suggest the one thing that worries me most outside of my immediate circle of wife/daughters is her health.
We will see here again in August at my cousin’s wedding. She’s volunteered to bake the wedding cake.
Yes, she does cakes.
About the only thing she doesn’t do is photos.
I’ve toyed with the idea of uploading one from when we were younger, but she’d likely fly back here and kick my ass.
She could totally do it, too.
I don’t want to tick her off, but at the same time our driveway really needs to be resealed.