In reviewing my blog page recently, I noticed it’s been almost a year since I last posted. Does that mean I didn’t write any? Not at all. I have many in the works but what seems to happen is that I complete 50% of the blog post, not sure I love it…79% of a blog, want to finish strong…92% percent of a blog, still, I might want to do some edits. I have many ideas and yet 2020 clouded my mind and, in some ways, diminished my joy in writing. Will what I have to say be important? Will my readers wonder if I am living in a bubble and have missed all the chaos of the year? Or will I just dislike the content of my own thoughts?
2020 invited me to do something different, less stressful than writing and yet creative and so I decided to create an Instagram page (@merrietherapy) where I would position my wooden unisex people into amusing thoughtful poses with tips that might inspire, increase coping, or add a spark of joy to someone’s day. At least that was my goal. I have to say I enjoyed this project and generated 100 different tips during the calendar year. My favorite one is the picture in this blog. Interestingly, I took this picture at my mother’s home. Her small, compact flower beds were, in fact, designed by me with flowers from my own perennial collection.
My mother (I call her “Mom”) is 82 years old and long past gardening. In fact, she has Meniere’s disease and can’t perform the ritual of bending and stooping which is so lovingly necessary to garden. So, I have worked in her flower beds from time to time trying to give her something lovely to look at as she leaves for, at this time of COVID-19, doctors’ appointments only. At any rate, I am a fan of the English garden and the seemingly uncoordinated and random look, with a variety of colors. 2020 saw the black-eye Susans take over one area of Mom’s flowerbed. So lovely.
It is true that one person’s idea of beauty is not necessarily another’s. It turns out that my mom does not like black-eyed Susans. When I mentioned how lovely they were this year, Mom said “I don’t like them, they look too wild.” Cue: stunned silence. No, she was not aware of my award-winning photograph and how I had proudly posted it on my Instagram page. “Mom, do you not get the English garden look?” I wanted to inquire, but I instead I only said, “I really like them,” to which she reminded me of her dislike.
Families can be hard. Moms too. I mentally resolved to redesign her flower beds, along with my life and my blogs. New goals, you get the idea. I made a plan which included moving many of the perennial plants back to my wild English garden. As it turns out, my black-eyed Susans had all but died out, so this, I thought to myself, “it will all work out fine.” I also decided I would find Mom some plants and flowers she would enjoy. I am not sure if I mentioned that, in my lifetime, my mother has never been a gardener or planted a single flower that I have known about, but she does enjoy nature.
It should be noted that I am not always in the habit of exploring my thoughts aloud with others, and I tend to strategize in my mind before I roll out a new plan, in this case, the plan about Mom’s garden as stated above. So, just as everyone in 2020 was doing, I was busy with many things including my work as a therapist. No, I hadn’t forgotten about the black-eyed Susans, I had just left them for another day.
I sometimes underestimate my mom. I went to see her a few days after our initial conversation about her garden. It seems she has become a gardener after all! She decided to sit in a chair with a pair of scissors and cut all the flower heads off of the black-eyed Susans…well, at least the ones she could reach. This looks like a very bad haircut. But there is also something amusing about it too. Perhaps she didn’t think I was listening to her. She seemed pretty proud to tell me, “I told you I didn’t like those. I trimmed them myself!” Good on you, Mom!
What is the moral of this story? People are different. As it turns out, I really like black-eyed Susans all crowded together and reaching for the sun with their ever-cheerful dispositions. My mom, on the other hand, does not like them. They feel too random and disorganized in her garden, and most likely in her mind as well. Things don’t have to be perfect, and that is really OK! Even though it could probably be better, I think I will actually post this blog. It’s about my real life, and what could be wrong with that?