It has been a lovely Mother’s Day weekend. Yesterday I spent time with my stepmom Jerri, who is my second mother, and my sisters and brother and several nephews and a niece. Today I enjoyed time with my mom. My sister Linda and I, along with her grandchildren Weston and Lola, took Mom and my stepdad Walter out to dinner.
Before Linda and her cuties arrived at Mom’s, I had time to plant a couple of flowers in my mother’s backyard garden. Last weekend Mom and Linda stopped by my backyard sanctuary, catching me working among my flowers. As they toured the garden, Mom admired my clematis plants, with their riotous purple and pale lavender blooms. They grow more and more gorgeous each year.
Mom mentioned that she should plant the showy flowers in her own yard. Well, with Mother’s Day approaching, my mom unwittingly gave me the perfect idea for a gift! Linda and I purchased two purple clematis plants for our beautiful mom, and I tucked those vines into the ground for her this afternoon. She can enjoy the flowering plants for years to come.
Back at Mom’s, after delicious veggie dinners at Cracker Barrel, I captured some fun photos. Before I left, I felt drawn to return to the backyard, to take a couple of pics of the newly planted clematis vines. I often don’t know exactly what I am going to write about, until it is time to create the blog post. Oh, I figured I’d be doing a Mother’s Day piece, but I was open, my awareness on alert, as I moved through the day.
The clematis kept coming to mind as I drove home. The clematis… There was that Divine tap on my shoulder. I walked in my own garden when I got home, appreciating the soul stirring, heart lifting beauty there. My clematis vines were even more gorgeous today. What was the connection here, that was trying to reveal itself to me today, between these flowers and my mother?
Greg and I had just this morning had a conversation about symbolism. Carl Jung says that signs are always less than the concepts they represent, while symbols stand for something more than its obvious and immediate meaning. Symbols hint at something not yet known…which is why I am so often drawn to symbolism and the deeper truths hidden there.
So I looked up the symbolic meaning of the clematis. Beyond obvious connections to beauty, the clematis is symbolic of ingenuity and cleverness, because of the vine’s ability to climb almost anything, clinging tenaciously, lifting upward toward the sun as it grows. The clematis also represents mental beauty and creativity.
These attributes are certainly representative of my mother. She is beautiful as well, and there is so much more to her than that. She is one of the most creative people I know, clever and resourceful and inventive. Mom has modeled the creative life for me, from her story-telling abilities to her writing and gardening to her knack for repurposing items. I have learned to be tenacious with my own dreams, watching her cling to hers and birth them into reality.
I checked the word origin, something I love to do when I am looking deeper. The root word, klema, is Greek, and literally means vine branch. I immediately thought of Jesus’ parable about the vine and branches and the flow of life. The vine supplies life to the branches, leaves and flowers, which results in visible beauty. My mother is definitely the “vine” in our family, with my sisters and me branching off, carrying that vitality, that life, onward to our children and their children. My mom is surrounded by the “flowers” her life has created and sustained. Each beautiful bloom has a name. Together we form our family.
Finally, I discovered that another name for the clematis vine is Traveler’s Joy, because this plant doesn’t stay still. It travels, it climbs, it reaches toward the light. Again, this describes my mom well. She loves to travel. I have inherited her love of wandering the planet. But it is more than that. Mom travels at a heart and soul level. She explores new ideas along with new terrain, takes the road less traveled, when she is off on an adventure or when she is contemplating life. She has a traveler’s mindset…pack light, go far, have fun.
The clematis, it seems, is the perfect flower for my mom. I appreciate the symbolism and the deeper truths the clematis brought to me today. Mostly though, I appreciate my mom. So much of who I am is a result of her encouragement and her example. Traveler’s joy indeed. The life supplying vine that creates beauty. Clever and creative. My mom.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I am grateful for you. I love you!