One of the most beautiful limited time sights in my town is the arrival of the cherry blossoms (Perhaps that’s why they call this place “Cherry Hill.”) The pink puff balls of petals are just breathtaking. The buds peek at you one day, and the next, blooms explode, lining our streets with a cotton candy floral spectacle that has passers by pulling over for selfies.
One spring day about 10 years ago, driving my kids to one of their seemingly endless practices, I let out a gasp, marveling at the pink overhangs I could see through my sunroof. Although probably late for the practice, I drove slowly, savoring the blushing branches welcoming us as we drove down Chapel Avenue, known for its cherry blossom splendor each year.
The gasp had its effect. My kids looked up, and away from their smartphones. The pink wasn’t there just a few days ago. Now it was petal stampede, with the spring breeze swirling loose blossoms into our windshield.
“Wow!” the kids exclaimed. (A true compliment from teenagers. Nature, you must have put on quite a show.)
Feeling playful, I let this slip without thinking, kiddingly… “Wouldn’t it be cool to be covered with a bucketful of those petals?”
“Yeah,” they agreed. "Even better than a bucket of slime."
And then Mother’s Day arrived. The day I’ve cherished each year. I say “cherished” because... I almost didn’t become a Mom. It wasn’t in the physical cards for my first husband and me. So we were lucky enough to adopt infants two separate times from Colombia. Instead of “delivery,” we did “takeout!” I always relay jokingly. (The kids groan.) But it gives me the greatest smile, as I also hear from other parents who’ve adopted or who had difficulties conceiving. That “almost couldn't” situation made me appreciate these children that much more. Celebrating Mother’s Day was like winning the Indy 500! And I treasured every handmade ornament, every construction paper mural, every macaroni masterpiece gifted to me all the more.
So on this Mother’s Day, when the kids asked me to close my eyes as they led me out to the front porch, I was giggling with glee before their gift was even revealed. And then it happened.
They poured an entire bucket of pink cherry blossom petals over my head.
Yes, an entire bucket. Petals they had to hunt down around the entire town because the trees had lost them the weekend prior. Petals that now graced my hair, my shoulders, my shoes, and the brick walkway. There was pink joy - pure pleasure - as we all laughed, hugged, shouted and reveled in a whimsy lived, a true “bucket list” dream revealed.
The joy on THEIR faces was priceless. The mark on my heart? Permanent.
And it all came from GOOD LISTENING… paying attention to the little things that were important to someone. The mark of the best gift of all, whether for loved ones or for business. I will never forget that moment, that gift, that gesture.
How could they ever top that?
Well it seems this year, they have topped that with a coincidentally wonderful gift. My son and his wife are expecting their first daughter any day now. If she doesn’t come sooner, she’s scheduled to be induced on Mother’s Day evening. And I’ll become a Grandmother for the first time on that day of glorious days.
It doesn’t get any better than that, does it, friends?
Wishing all you Mothers out there a bucketful of joy this holiday. And to those who aren't, I salute YOUR Mother, and wish you wonderful memories of her.
Here's to great listening and joy all around!
P.S. Of course, pictures will be coming!
Mary Ellen Sokalski
Diva of Direct Marketing.