I Love You Mom! See You Next Week!

Dear Mom,

When I scheduled this long speaking tour on the West Coast I didn't realize I'd be gone over Mother's Day. I'm so sorry I won't be having lunch with you and Dad. Or sitting by you in the glider listening to the melodies coming from your assortment of backyard birdhouses, bird feeders, and bird baths. Or checking out the progress of the spring blossoms in your tidy little perennial garden. Or laughing with you at the antics of great-grand-baby Marcele, your namesake. 

I haven't forgotten I promised you multi-colored impatiens, tuberous begonias, and mixed coleus for your Mother's Day gift.  But I've decided to postpone their arrival until I can be there to help you plant them and brighten up the shady side of the "back forty." I figured that would be okay with you.

We've had fun the last few months, haven't we?  This month, of course, we're thrilled to be able to celebrate Dad's returning health after successful chemo treatments.  But even during the days and weeks that were wrapped in the dark fabric of fear, there were threads of gold in that fabric, weren't there?  Remember the long afternoon we sat at a round table in the hospital waiting room, drinking vanilla soy lattes and talking about your high school boyfriends, your first date with dad, and the girl that made you jealous when she asked him to dance? I thought I'd heard all those stories before, but so many new details emerged during those slow hours of waiting.

You were quite the feisty lady at eighteen when you married Dad!  By twenty-one, when you gave birth to me, you were in the midst of a Honolulu adventure with your handsome navy sailor (and surfer) husband, Bob Barry.  Apparently you and I (young mom and baby girl) thoroughly enjoyed our lazy days playing in the sand and water of Waikiki. It was fun to look again at the old Hawaii photos, though I must admit you looked a lot better in your bikini than I did in mine!  (Bikinis and diapers are never a good combination.)

One thing I enjoyed discovering about you this winter was how much you love "sparkles."  In the past, sparkles--as in sequins, rhinestones, and shiny fabrics--were reserved for cocktail dresses or mother-of-the-bride attire.  Since you haven't been deep into the party scene (at least not since I was born) I've never seen your sparkly side. But those black glitter Tom's shoes I gave you this winter apparently opened your eyes to a whole new world. The world of casual sparkles!  Va-va-voom!  Dangling earrings. Sequined t-shirts. Silver purses. Cobalt-colored skinny jeans with studded pockets. Seriously! You shimmer now, Mom--from head to toe--and I love it!  

Not so dazzling, but even more impressive, is your willingness to brush up your long-neglected typing skills on the hand-me-down iPad you just received from your daughter (that would be me).  I never blamed you for not writing emails on Dad's old clunker of a computer.  But I was hoping you'd move outside your comfort zone long enough to send me an email or two on the iPad.  And you did it!  I love it every time I receive an email from "Leah Marcele."  I was grateful when you started sending your single sentence messages.  But holy cow, Mom, this week your emails have been downright newsy--with splashes of humor, even!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for inspiring me with the model of a woman who keeps on growing and changing. I hope I'm still learning new skills when I'm a month shy of 83!

You know that wherever I travel in the world I snap photos of beautiful flowers.  Even if you and I didn't look almost exactly alike, we could probably prove our mother/daughter connection simply by the intensity of our shared passion for flowers. True, I just photograph them while you actually grow them...but still.  So, for Mother's Day I was going to send you a collection of my ten favorite "global flowers."  Unfortunately, some evil spirit descended on my computer and blocked access to my ALL MY PHOTOS. Yikes!  I'm sure my personal computer angel will find my photos for me when I get back home, but I had to come up with a different plan for Mother's Day. 

So, my patient travel companions will tell you that throughout this week, in between speaking engagements and meetings, I've repeatedly wandered away with my iPhone in search of flowers. I'm glad we've been hanging out in places like Phoenix and Orange County and San Francisco, where there actually are flowers in May. I didn't capture any truly spectacular shots (it's hard to be artsy when you're in a hurry) but the flowers I photographed make me happy--and I know they'll make you happy too.  So I'm sending you a collection of my favorites from the week.  Sit back, Mom, and let these bits of beauty feed your soul.  I love you and I'll see you next week.