Day 5: The 30-Day Summer Adventure Challenge!

Beauty Really is All Around You…

We drove past Root Glen Gardens three days a week for TWO school years while our son attended preschool at Hamilton College. We never knew this artistic and beautifully manicured treasure was there. I cheated myself, because I am certain that someone told me about the gardens before I started this blog, but I was either too busy or too caught up in my own head to listen.

Walking around the grounds of Root Glen, I tried to concentrate on the joy of the moment, my two beautiful boys beaming with joy as they ran around the grounds, my husband who was delighted by the find, and the correct exposure settings on my daggum camera, but I kept thinking about my mother. Oh, how she would have been in awe over the different species of plants, and the organic, yet well-manicured beauty of the gardens. My mother will soon be moved to a nursing home from a rehabilitation center. She is not recovering—dementia has stolen her memory, and even day-to-day activities are too much for her. I have a hard time reaching her by phone because she cannot remember from one moment to the next how to lean over and answer it. She is completely blind now, so she cannot see the phone or remember where it is. The sadness that shrouds me over her quality of life is exponential, because there really is very little quality now.

My mother loved flowers. She spent years planting pretty things in her yard and couldn’t wait for spring to see their beauty. Flowers and plants truly made my mother happy. I remember how giddy she’d get over the smell of her white Easter lilies. And I smile every time I think about how much she hated pine straw. But even through the fussing, she managed to laugh about having to rake it, because it was a chore that she could accomplish with pride.

My mother’s life was splattered with more than her fair share of sadness, but she never lost hope. I am truly amazed by that. I could call my mom and tell her that I was blue about this or that, and she would talk to me as long as I needed her, and she’d tell me not to be sad. Somehow, by the time we hung up, she most always cheered me. Through the years, we had awful, stupid squabbles. I know she forgives me, and I sure forgive her. I got to see her a couple of weeks ago at the rehabilitation center near Charlotte, NC. She kept saying that she wants to go home. I tried to encourage her to work harder and break through. I told her “…fight! Fight hard, Mama! Don’t you lay there and die on me.” But the two strokes were most likely too much. I can’t bear to tell her that she’s probably never going back to her home here on Earth. If there’s the tiniest bit of hope left, I refuse to rob her of that. I want to believe that she can break through some how.

I did not start writing again to bring sadness. I started this blog to inspire and hopefully bring about community or personal awareness. I want it to be fun, but sadness needs its moments, too, or we cannot grow. We have lived in this community for seven years, and through this blog I am seeing my town for the very first time. My mother visited here several times before her health failed—even as recently as Thanksgiving. She used to talk about how pretty the yards were here. I wish I had known about Root Glen Gardens. I wish I had listened when people told me about it because I would have loved taking my mom there. She would have been inspired and blessed to walk through it. Go to Root Glen. Spend some time there. It’s peaceful, and full of life—flowers and species that you’ve never heard are all around. The serenity makes it one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I bet you have an arboretum near you. Don’t take it for granted. Go see it, and take someone special with you. There’s life there, and hope. Beauty is all around you.

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