The Power of Love

hydrangea, summer flowersThe first time I recognized the power of love, I was 4 years old.

The revelation began in the morning, when my mom sent me off to the backyard to play in the sandbox, as she often did.

I hated the sandbox.

It was ….sandy.

And hot. The day was as it should be in August – hot and humid. A sandbox added to the sticky misery.summer flowers, white flowers

So, I found my way over to the neighbor’s shady green bush that leaned over our weathered fence like a ballerina over a well-used barre. The green leaves didn’t catch my interest as much as the feathery dainty white ladies dancing within them.

The ladies’ faces beckoned me to release them from their green prison.

summer flowersI plucked one, then another.

And another.

As I freed them, I placed them on the ground all in a row, giving each one a name: Sally, Silly, Sandy, Susie . . .

“YOU STOP THAT!”

I dropped the next flower (Sarah) as the crotchety neighbor, wearing rollers in her hair and a ferocious scowl on her face, sprang out from behind the bush.

“Leave my flowers alone!”

I began to cry, and in an instant, a nanosecond probably, I heard our screen door snap open.

And at the top of her lungs my mother screamed:

LEAVE MY PAMMY ALONE!

My heart flip flopped. I felt the power of love and reached my arms toward my mom in response. I don’t recall what the neighbor did. I didn’t care.

I handed my flowery ladies to the one who loved me, not knowing, of course, that expressing love through the gift of flowers is as ancient as time.

motherhood, mothers and daughters

When we began…

 

mothers and daughters, nursing home love

I still bring her flowers….

 

143 thoughts on “The Power of Love

  1. You’ve choked me up. What a powerful post. There truly is something wild and wonderful about motherly love. I’m at my Mum’s place right now, and your story reminds me of a time my Mum terrified a couple of local boys who had shoved a stick in the spokes of my moving bike, making me fall off. I came and told her and she didn’t hang around to comfort me, she went after them and gave them a loud piece of her mind! Ahhh love, it comes in many forms, but it’s always a powerful – the most powerful – force… Love and hugs to you and your amazing Mum dear friend – Harula xxx

    • I enjoyed envisioning your mom racing over to yell at those boys. Yes, moms find a power and strength within them that they never know they have until they need to protect their children. A powerful force of love, indeed. ❤️

  2. The power of love indeed. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story
    I love the 4 year old girl’s imagination and won’t forget how you gave each flower a name.💕 .
    I have two big bushes like that in my garden and where I come from they are called ‘Bride’s veil’. Nice gift for your mother.
    miriam

    • ‘Brides Veil’ is a gorgeous name for a flowery bush. Yes, I named my flowers from the minute I can remember; and now every plant in my house has her own name too. They seem to thrive with their own names. 🌸🌼😍

  3. My goodness our mothers were and are so wonderful. Your story might be short on words but it is long in the lessons learned in childhood and they we carry throughout our life. A very sweet story and I’m so glad that you are still bringing flowers to your mom. Never stop bringing her flowers. It is so much better to see flowers when alive and I wish more folks would bring flowers to their parents.

  4. Oh my goodness, Pam! All the feelings! What? No, not me crying. 🙂
    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
    I’ll be brining my mom cookies, not flowers, this weekend, but it’s the same idea.

    Oh–also, I LOVE that you named your flower ladies. That is something my daughters would do.

  5. Thanks for a gem of a story. I love how some days and moments stick with us. My mom did her best and I have plenty of warm memories- but she always yelled at kids who picked her flowers. Give your Mom an extra hug

  6. Such a great example Pam of the pain we humans can cause when we don’t take the time to understand the “other.” How wonderful for you that your mom was right there to come to your defense.

    • Right on, Janet. Now, as an adult, I wonder what pain and struggles the screaming woman was going through in her life, to be so nasty to a little girl. Yes, the neighbor was wrong to lash out at me, but now I believe that she was lacking some love and flowers in her life.

  7. A beautiful post, Pam. That mother’s love is an amazing thing. In filling us up with love, they create a legacy that passes through the generations. I’m so glad that you still bring her flowers. ❤

  8. Tender story, for sure, filled with love and wisdom. Go ahead and pick more flowers to give to your mom.
    Thank you for your beautiful writing.

    • You reminded me of a funny thing here, Patrice. I never again picked flowers from anyone else’s yard. But anytime my mom visited me-usually I lived on one coast and she lived on another – she loved going out with my scissors and picking Callalily’s or daisies from someone else’s yard. I always had to stop her! Ahh moms and daughters…

    • Me too! And I’m a softie, but not around my kids. The difficult thing, is now that my ‘kids’ are parents themselves, I have to hold myself back. But believe me, if anyone messes around with my grandkids….. !!!!! ;-0

  9. Great story, Pam. I would have responded like your mom if it was my kids, too. I have had crotchety neighbors in the past that I had to keep my kids away from. Distressing. I’m glad you can still give flowers to your mom. My mom passed away in 2006; I still miss her. 🙂

  10. Ah, Pam, you brought tears to my eyes, and for me, that’s a rare event. Nothing like a mother’s love…mine’s been gone for quite a few years now, but her love still abides in my heart.

    • I’m fortunate I still get to see my mom. She is fading, and doesn’t remember much any more. But she knows my brother and me, and she smiles the smile of love. Thanks for commenting here, Courtney. MUCH appreciated. xo

  11. How lovely! Every kid should know that their mom has their back. I saw your comment on my chicken enchilada post! I keep wanting to come back to blogging and keep managing to only briefly dip my toe on the water. I haven’t given up on myself yet though…

  12. This is beautiful, Pam. I thought you were feeling very dejected and unloved, but how quickly those thoughts dissipated with your mother being your spokesperson and protector, just as it should be. I’m so pleased you still bring her flowers, and love the pictures of you together demonstrating a love that endures through the years.

  13. You had me at “the neighbor’s shady green bush that leaned over our weathered fence like a ballerina over a well-used barre.” The rest I read misty-eyed. Poignant post, Pam!

    I know all about the fading process. May you feel God’s powerful embrace as you love and honor your mother.

  14. Wow! What a wonderful mother and I’m cheering her on as she calls for you and gathers you up – petals and all. The power of love indeed and it shines through with such force I feel floored. I love the two photographs of you both and sense the joy and love as strong and close as ever. Ahh…what a beautiful thought to name each petal and yes, just keep bringing those flowers, as precious as ever. Hugs xx❤️

    • Thank you, Annika. Our mother-daughter relationship has shape-shifted over the years, but that power, that powerful love, has never wavered. I’m off to see her soon – with a vibrant bouquet.

    • Many thanks, Roy. I’ll admit, I cried while I wrote this – isn’t that weird? But as the words flowed, I went directly back to that time as a young girl. I think a parent’s love stays with us throughout our years.

  15. Great. Now I got the Huey Lewis songbook stuck in my head. I’ll be humming his stuff all week. My wife will kill me.

    On another note, I *totally* understand your youthful aversion to the sandbox. I felt the same way. In fact, I still feel that way. I would swim in the ocean a heckuva lot more often if someone would just carpet the beach.

    • Hum quietly, and tell her you’re just humming about her . . . and the power of love. That should work!
      Yup, you and my guy are too much alike. He doesn’t go to ‘the ocean’ because (gasp) there’s sand there.

  16. Aww, love love love. Even though she’d sent you out to the sandbox, she still had 100% attention on you, didn’t she.

    I remember being in a greeting card store with my mother and going through all the cards, reading them. I couldn’t have been more than four or five, and perhaps no one assumed I was old enough to actually read. (I was reading by the age of three.) The shopkeeper told me to stop “messing around with the cards” and yanked one out of my hands. My mother put her arm around me, handed the card she was going to buy to the shopkeeper, and said, “We’re taking our business elsewhere.” I remember going from feeling sick to my stomach to total comfort.

    Moms are treasures!!

  17. I hope your mom reads your blog — or that you read it to her. She needs to know these things.

    I lost track long ago of the times my mom stood up for me. One of note was that we were part of a church that I can only now call a cult, where men ruled and women were to be silent. I’d been severely mistreated by the pastor of the church, and one did not question the pastor, no matter what he did or said. (In a very odd-shaped nutshell, it wasn’t sexual abuse; I’d been dragged by the wrist to a boiler room where I was made to squeeze a dirty tennis ball and growl ‘like a dog’ because I’d been reading during recess when ‘boys should be playing football.’ I was six.)

    Except my mother.

    She marched me right into his office, tip-toed so that she broke five feet in height, and flared like a cobra. She spoke in jagged low tones punctuated with her finger in the man’s chest: “I don’t care who you are or think you are, if you ever lay a hand on my son again, I’ll see that you spend the rest of your life in prison. Do you understand me.” And she stood there until he gulped and nodded his assent. Then she turned her back on him, took me by the hand, and marched out.

    And she’d still do it today at 73.

    • Ohhhh, your mom sounds like mine- tiny but stronger than iron. My mom can no longer read, but I’m actually visiting here right now in DE, and I think I’ll take your suggestion and read this to her. Thanks! PS that man in your church was sick and an abuser. I hope he ‘found the light,’ perhaps with the help of your mom!

  18. Great post. I can’t seem to leave a comment on your blog. My mother was my greatest defender and encourager. She did not live to see my writing published, but I know she would have been so proud. I miss her every day and she has been gone since 1985.

    Glenda C. Beall NCWN-West Program Coordinator

    581 Chatuge Lane

    Hayesville, NC 28904

    You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself. ~ Harry Firestone

    Writers Circle Around the Table

    828-389-4441 glendabeall@msn.com http://www.glendacouncilbeall.com

    ________________________________

  19. This was such a beautiful piece. My mom’s birthday is coming up in a few days, and I couldn’t have read your post at a better time. That’s just how a mother’s love is- powerful. Even if it comes from the tiniest or frailest of women. Motherhood brings about a power, a passionate love that one doesn’t know one is capable of. 🙂

  20. Oh, the things we do when we are little and naive!! And adults can have a sharp emotional response to what they don’t approve of little ones getting up to. I’m feeling a little guilty now because I had something along those lines happen with a little girl while at the beach last week. I was resting my arm on a low railing to steady my camera trying to get a perfect shot of a Ferris Wheel… a little girl playing nearby suddenly decided to swing lightly off the end of the railing a few inches from my hand, then proceeded to pull herself up the slop grabbing the railing, hands skimming right across the camera narrowly missing the lens and my steady arm. Without really thinking I sharply said “Hey.. don’t do that!!” 😡 She instantly apologised and moved away. I was half expecting an angry Mother over my shoulder due to my snappy response, but there didn’t seem to be one, or at least not one who heard my irritation. I guess I escaped the rebuke!

    I don’t blame your Mother for defending you, it’s what mothers do, and we grumpy adults need to be reminded we didn’t know much about anything at one time ourselves, and did things that we didn’t realise would upset the adult world.

    Love your little life stories Pamela! We should all share these little moments of living, a lot more than we do. They cause us to stop and think, and perhaps… not react quite so sharp?!! 😉

    • Oh, you’re probably being too hard on yourself here, Suzy. I was quite little when I was picking those flowers off that bush. If I’d been, say, 9, or even 8, I should know better. Many of my contemporaries have noticed that parents ‘these days’ spend less time teaching their children boundaries and the niceties of manners and thinking about others, not just themselves. With that in mind, sometimes adults rightly verbally chastise a child who’s not behaving properly. That kind of goes with “it takes a village…” I think.
      That said, I love how moms defend their children and stick up for them. That’s the way it should be, and yes, why don’t we write more about these ‘little’ things in life that mean so much? Well, that’s what I try to do… xo

    • Ah, another imaginative creative. Not surprised to learn that you also, Bette, found dancing ladies in the flower blooms when you were a child. Sometimes…I still do. I am just more secretive when I cut a bit of the blooms off a bush to dance in a vase in my house. 🙂

  21. Your story is so lovely and timeless, Pam. Your mother was your defender! I can see the Wonder Woman shield. 🛡🏹
    The woman next door was so crotchety. A real shame. . .
    Thank goodness, we really knew Love personified. 💓
    Some children sadly don’t.
    I love Huey Lewis and the News. Saw them a long time ago and feel they had a great band sound with the horn included!

    • Thanks so much for your Wonder Woman comment on my Power of Love post – somehow I just saw it. I love that imagery!! Yes, don’t you think that moms ARE like Wonder Woman in many ways? How lucky are we to have such moms, and to hopefully be that kind with our kids. Even in my mom’s dementia, her love for me shines through her eyes.

  22. It is a simple story but it has a deeper meaning. It is heart warming 💓. Beautifully depicts the lovely relationship of mom and her child as well as the protective nature of a mother. So beautiful.

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