Lilacs always remind me of my mother. Growing up all our neighbors had lilac bushes in their yards and my mom absolutely LOVED them. I can still picture all the different shades of purple, pink, and white growing up over the fences. And every time I smell a lilac it brings me back to that little yard in suburban Philly. Being 10 years old and watching my mother (with permission, of course) snip lilacs from the bush to put in a vase on our dining room table.
Fast forward about 20 years to my first Mother’s Day. Sitting on the couch with my 7 month old son. Tired (as always) from lack of sleep. Postpartum hormones still flying around my body. A mix of frustration with the constant fussiness yet extreme love for this tiny guy. And in walks my husband with a “surprise”. He walks in the living room and I’m sure he cold just see my jaw drop as he holds out this potted tree. What the HECK is that?!? I think to myself. And then he gives me the most thoughtful answer ever.
It’s a lilac bush. You always say that lilacs remind you of your mom. So now you can have one of your own. Because now you’re a mom, too. And now lilacs can remind you of your mom AND your son.
So, if you couldn’t figure it out already, I was in tears. (I’m tearing up right now again as I write this!) It literally took us a year to figure out where in the yard to plant it. And I was so worried that it would die before we could get it in the ground. But my husband made sure it was watered and got plenty of sunlight. It spent the winter in the shed, but still came out several times a week for some TLC. Over the next couple years, it remained healthy. There were plenty of lush, green leaves, but when all the neighborhood lilacs began to bloom, I never saw any buds on mine. That is until this year. Turns out it takes a new lilac bush three years before you see any flowers. And right on schedule, we saw those brilliant, fragrant blooms this year.
I made a point of telling my three year old that he gave me that plant for our first Mother’s Day together. He likes to tell me the story of how he went to Lowe’s with Daddy and picked it out just for me! Hopefully someday the smell of lilacs will remind him of his mother just as it reminds me of mine.