Bloom Where You're Planted
No one would dare argue the point that my grandmother was most well known for her roses. Her beautiful roses that grew to the size of dinner plates. They were truly blue ribbon roses and her yard reflected her love for, and skill, in raising roses, but those aren't the flowers I loved when we went to visit each summer.
It was the Hollyhocks. Both of my grandmothers grew them. They were never the central focus of their homes, often contrary to that. They stood in the farthest corners of the yard, the forgotten places out on the fringes where no one had a need to go and they often stood in a bed of weeds and thistles but there they were, every summer and whether we were running through the sheets hanging out on the line, or swinging lazily in the chair swing on a warm evening, I loved to see the beautiful, bright flowers, climbing the tall stems making even the edges of the yard so beautiful. It's never just one stalk of flowers, but bunches, growing alongside each other, supporting their sometimes awkwardly long stems.
Shortly after both my grandmothers passed away a few years ago, I wanted a living memorial of the women who did so much to shape me and teach me so I planted Hollyhocks in my yard. A perfect place along the fence. An accessible place that was not forgotten.
Well, it has been a huge disappointment. I have not been able to get a single stalk to grow more than 6". Year after year, I plant more seeds. I water carefully, fertilize, beg and plead for them to grow into blooming flowers but that has not happened so that little patch in the yard has remained mostly an eyesore.
This summer, to my surprise a Hollyhock began to grow! I was so happy but my kids threatened to pull it's roots. I've protected and coddled that little plant. This week, it bloomed and its the most beautiful shade of lilac.
It's not growing the special bed I prepared for it, clean of weeds and debris, it is growing in the tight cracks of the concrete pad in the middle of our patio. It's not in a convenient spot and that is why the kids keep threatening to pull it out but all I have wanted was one Hollyhock to grow.
We aren't always given the best of circumstances to grow and flourish in life, at least when I consider the life that I have lived. In many ways, I feel like the Hollyhock. A little awkward, out on the fringes, where few tend to be. I like to think that I have tried to bloom, regardless of where I've been planted and believe me when I say, it's rarely been in fertile ground. I like to think that I have taught my kids the same such skills. Some seasons, we flourish more than others and regardless of the tight places we find ourselves in, we persevere with a patient hope.
So, this little plant is center in my life and makes me so happy. Each morning and night, I sit beside it and tend to it's needs and I think of my grandmothers and the legacy of a life well lived, against difficult odds...both of them. Life is never easy but it can beautiful at times and maybe, it's in the beautiful fleeting moments that keeps us going.