It’s a beautiful season for morning walks here in the desert. The temperature around 5 am is between 60 and 70 degrees and the skies are usually a clear blue, though occasionally morning clouds reflect the approaching sun in spectacular colors. Those colors are also reflected in the myriad blooms in my various neighbors’ yards. On Instagram, I’ve been posting lots of spectacular blossoms, and this week I will continue that thread by posting roses.

Roses are not indigenous to this desert landscape, but they are clearly well-beloved by many who have transplanted themselves here. Roses remind me of my paternal grandma, who was transplanted here to Tucson from Mississippi in the 1950s. When I was a child, we would visit our grandparents here and she always had roses blooming in the yard. Here is one of my favorite photos of her, taken when I was an adult. It seemed like there were always vases of flowers, mostly roses, on the table in her home.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, so it seems a fitting time to give thanks to God for the mothers in my family. There’s my own mother, who loved digging in the dirt as an amateur archaeologist during much of my childhood. She also had a garden, though she focused on growing vegetables and fruits—as do I. I remember how the raspberry plants overtook much of our garden, and how I didn’t mind a bit, because I love them so much! Now my parents live in an apartment, and I wonder sometimes if she misses the chance to dig in the dirt.

My father was the one who wanted flowers in our yard, perhaps because of his own mother’s love for them. I fell in love with our irises, which remain my favorite flower, and one that I continue to grow (there’s a large patch outside our bedroom window). I may also have learned to love ice cream from her—though with her diabetes, it was a treat she should not have eaten often! (I still remember going to Swensen’s Ice Cream with her; my favorites were Lemon and Swiss Orange Chip.)

My mother’s mother I remember more because of her artistic nature. I have a quilt that she made, and a crocheted afghan. When I was a child, I had a quilted snake she crafted (I wish I could talk with her now about why she chose a snake instead of a teddy bear!) and a small pin in the shape of an artist’s palette, dotted with small agates she’d gleaned from beaches on the northern California coast. I remember beachcombing with her, bringing home jars of agates (I still have this one!) and driftwood that grandfather collected for his many woodcarving projects.

I’m grateful for these women and for these experiences and memories that helped make me who I am. I love digging in the dirt, eating ice cream, and being artistically creative because of these women in my life.

I also wonder what memories others have of me. I’ve been a spiritual mother to many over the years, especially through my spiritual guidance ministry. I wonder, and hope, that those memories are good.

How have the mothers in your life impacted you? For what memories are you grateful?

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