It hasn't been warm enough for the flowers to bloom. All those grand arches and pathways laid winter-bare and us traipsing through in hopes of a petal or two. The Royal Botanical Gardens span acres of land and our feet traveled the well-versed paths as we sought Spring against a chill wind and grey sky.
Not the adventure we envisioned but we were happy enough.
For her 60th birthday, my sisters and I kidnapped our mother and whisked her straight down Highway Six for an expensive dinner, hotel stay, hot tub shenanigans and a garden tour. This isn't the May we promised ourselves. We'd planned to ooo and aw through the lilacs but they had barely begun to bud.
My mother, she's got kindness to an art, she didn't care that the weather wasn't on our side and that the bare branches practically mocked our attempt at a birthday gift - she just pulled up her hood and enjoyed the day.
We were tired - she and I - staying up late late late to giggle through a ridiculous Ben Stiller movie while my sisters fell asleep with their mouths wide open - mom snorting her laughter in the bed beside me while we ate chocolate and watched Dodgeball.
When the afternoon brought us to the Arboretum we realized that this was where they'd hidden the colour. We wandered into the Magnolia collection, the trees spaced less purposefully, the wildness beautiful, the clouds pulling back to allow the sun to peak through. Gorgeous. I want one. A magnolia tree in the field under which I can place a table, a cup of tea and a basket to collect all that inspiration.
Twenty-seven hours of celebrating her sixty years on the planet - of recognizing her for spending more than half of that being a selfless mother to the three of us.
It was wonderful but it wasn't nearly enough to say thank you.
“Like the magnolia tree,
She bends with the wind,
Trials and tribulation may weather her,
Yet, after the storm her beauty blooms..."
Nancy B. Brewer, Letters From Lizzie