The Hill Country of Texas can often look like a vibrant painted canvas during Springtime. The coloring that carpets the ground from various wildflowers is a sight to behold. While growing up, my parents would take many road trips, these included weekend jaunts with the sole aim to see the wildflowers in full bloom.
In fact, people travel from all over the world to come to the Texas Hill Country during Bluebonnet season. The rolling hills are blanketed in these violet blue flowers dotted with white accents that have petals and a structure appearing most unusual.
One of the most loving things I can remember passing between my parents was during each Spring as they readied to leave for one of these trips. After we kids grew up and left home, my dad and mother continued taking those trips simply to go see the wildflowers. They'd pack a bag and leave the house, heading for the Brenham area in general, but without any particular destination in mind. The only thing propelling them forward was the chance to see the hills covered in flowers as far as the eye can see.
In this Hill Country, even small spots of available earth are crammed with wildflowers. You see highway overpasses skirted with wildflowers. Driving down the road, it's almost as if there is a sea of flowers spread before you, it's indescribable. There are bursts of color in nearly every conceivable place that has dirt.
In fact, the sight strikes my heart deeply because I always find it amazing that such beauty can spring forth from brown, colorless dirt. I guess we all come from humble beginnings and to the same we will one day return.
Most of all, these flowers remind me of a kind of love that carries such a sweeping depth of sweetness. Even though my mother had so many tribulations in her earthly body, my father looked upon her as his wife and a woman with more to give than a woman who could be defined by her condition. Even in her worst moments of being overwhelmed with uncontrollable pain and suffering resulting from her body being riddled and left forever marked by Polio, he believed in her strength.
Even though she had the dreaded title of "Polio Victim" from a young age, he never accused her of being a "victim" or of having "victim mentality." In fact, when she did have moments of weakness, he did not belittle her for being human. Better yet, he could've easily used this dreaded word against her during their worst moments as a couple, but he never tried to punish her further for something she had absolutely no control over. I've found that a person who is close to another enduring major health challenges is given their own opportunity to show uncanny strength and to shine in their own way. I am glad to have never heard my father accuse my mother of being a "victim." Sure, she'd sometimes cry and feel extremely frustrated during certain moments of her life and things were not always rosy, but he did not try to capitalize upon her weaknesses. If anything, his downfall would be that he could not see her weaknesses clearly enough and she liked it that way.
I thank my father for never making my mother feel as if she were a victim...not of her own weakness as a human and not of the failings of her body. It takes a big man indeed to let his woman have weak moments without taking advantage of the same for his own ego.
It's wonderful that we, as a family, celebrated her triumphant nature. She was a fighter. And the wildflowers remind me that instead of doing things for her with a mindset of pity or with a hidden heart of feeling nothing more than charity, he did things with her out of true love, mutual enjoyment, and out of seeing her as his partner with a smile.
Together, they savored the wildflowers. He may have not have sent many flowers to her in their lifetime from a florist in a glass vase, but every year he never missed a chance to personally escort her to the biggest, boldest bouquet in Texas. There will be no one else in his life with whom he can share the wildflowers like he did with the wife of his youth and of his increasing years. He's tried, but he's found it to be disappointing because the wildflowers just aren't as pretty or as enjoyable without her by his side. No one else has the child-like excitement about those flowers as she had so willingly and openly expressed. To me, it makes me happy to know that it is a tradition that he still can't find as complete without my mother and that is an authentic expression of his heart.
I'm so happy to know that every year my mother was able to fill her mind and spirit with a beauty that only nature can provide. And now, her strength is my strength. Her determination is my determination. Her willingness to sacrifice, even when others were blinded and could not be gracious about it, she continued to sacrifice...that is my legacy.
It's a good one, and I am fulfilled. For the flowers and for so much more...I am grateful.