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Have we finally come out of our long Nebraska winter? I have to admit, this one has been particularly hard on me. Every time I felt like we were breaking through to spring, we've been hit with just one more reminder that we cannot depend on Nebraska weather.

But here we are, just a few days out from Mother's Day, and I can honestly say, I really think we’re finally over the cold. And what that means in my book, is that it's time to get out there, get your hands dirty, and plant!

We used to live in an old house in Dundee that had the most beautiful front windows with flower boxes outside each one. I almost think I picked that house because I could see in my head heaps of cascading flowers naturally decorating my house each year. I love potted plants. I always have. There’s something about sticking those plants in a pot and watching them grow into beautiful color throughout the summer and into the fall.

On Mother's Day weekend when my older son was three, I left on what used to be my annual trip to Las Vegas with my girlfriends. Yes, we had a great time, and we all thought it was hilarious that we were spending our "day" away from those that made it our day. (Sorry, I cannot explain my sometimes very warped sense of humor.) But when I returned after that weekend, I discovered that my Mother's Day gift was more than the weekend away my family had granted me.

As I approached my house, I saw my husband and young son sitting on the front porch with gigantic grins plastered across their faces. And as I looked closer, I realized every single flower box and all my hanging pots were full of flowers. They had spent the weekend picking out and planting what seemed like hundreds of flowers to make my vision of what I wanted my house to look like a reality. And, oh boy, it was incredible.

I love to plant. I start itching every year around mid-March to start putting things into pots. I'll go out by our shed around that time and take stock of what pots I have, wash them down (weather permitting), and place them sadly on the patio in anticipation of the time that I can finally dig in. There’s a certain peace that I get from planting. From picking out the flowers and thinking through the mixes and arrangements to taking my hand shovel to the dirt, there is nothing more healing to my soul.

Of course, this particular time that I'm writing about, I didn't get the pleasure of planting all my front flowers. But knowing that my family knew me well enough and wanted me to have this beauty, was almost just as good. What I discovered that day, was that my son enjoyed the planting as much as I did. He, too, understood the connection between the natural beauty and the satisfaction of making it all come together.

Since that time, my weekend trips with the girls have greatly tapered off due to family, money, and life in general. What I've gained is an annual tradition in my house where Mother's Day means the planting and welcoming of a new season.

We (hubby, boys and me) spend the day together, first at the nursery picking out flowers and plants and then we get dirty. We put on our gardening clothes and together we plant. The boys usually get a few pots to plant on their own with whatever they have picked out and the understanding that they are to take care of those things throughout the season. We work side-by-side filling, what I am sure towards the end of the day, seems like never ending pots. And then we place them all. On the porch, the patio, the garden—wherever we agree will be the best place for each arrangement.

In recent years, we've added potted vegetables to the mix. This has given us even more enjoyment because we also get to eat and appreciate what we have planted. And for me, each year becomes more special than the last. Not just because I benefit from the beauty of the colors, but also the beauty of having something that we do together.

So this year, I say to all you moms out there, Happy Mother's Day. Find something you can enjoy and share it with your family. There's a reason you are a mom, and those kids of yours will always remember you for it.

Mollie Protzman

Mollie Protzman


Mollie is an Omaha native and a mom of two boys ages 13 and 8. She's been married for 20 years and spent most of those first 10 years living in various cities around the country. Before kids, she was in marketing communications and public relations and then stayed home with her boys for 11 years while doing freelance writing on the side. The day after her youngest one went to kindergarten, she just about went berserk with the quiet in the house and nothing constructiv ...

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