Bluets: The Things That Aren’t Things


Of all the flowers in my garden, these sweet bluets (Houstonia caerulea) rank way up on my favorites list. There’s a reason for this simple spring ephemeral’s prominent place in my garden and heart. When my youngest daughter was about seven years old, she went down to the little stream by our house and dug a clump of these to give me for Mother’s Day. I saw her trudging up the trail carrying a cumbersome red bucket, arms pulled down by the weight of it, skinny legs struggling step by step. She didn’t know I was watching, but I was that mother that always watched as her children thought they played freely outside. I wanted them to know the freedom of a feral childhood like I had experienced, but I also wanted them to be safe, this was a different time and place.
But, I digress.
She made her way to the front yard and using the child-sized trowel that I had bought her and her sister, she began digging holes in the front yard. When she was finished planting the bluets, she poured the water from the red bucket and stepped back to survey her work. A few minutes later, she appeared in the house, muddy and with little beads of perspiration forming around her hairline and eyebrows, strands of her messy ponytail sticking to her sun-reddened face. She grabbed my hand and said, “Come outside with me. You have to close your eyes. No peeking!” I took her tiny hand in mind and she led me out the door and into the yard.

“Open your eyes, nowwww!” She shouted. “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy!”

Lo and behold, a small mud puddle with drowned bluets and a little girl with arms outstretched pointing toward this labor of love, face beaming proud, appeared in front of me. “Ta-da!” 

From this first tiny clump, these bluets have spread to cover a good chunk of my front yard. I treasure this patch of flowers as much as my entire garden. No! More, I treasure it more. Because I’m reminded of the love and thoughtfulness of a beautiful brown-eyed girl some 21 years ago. I wouldn’t trade these bluets for the rarest orchids or the most majestic oaks. 

I still get wonderful gifts for Mother’s Day, holidays, and birthdays. Her budget allows for more expensive giving. But she knows that I treasure the little things, the simple things. The things that, really, aren’t even “things.” Like these bluets that grace my yard every spring and fill my heart with joy and love.

20 thoughts on “Bluets: The Things That Aren’t Things

  1. A lovely story – made me smile! I have a daughter of a similar age who has also given me many things that are not things that I treasure. Happy Mother’s Day to you tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is the loveliest of memories (and so beautifully written Cheryl) and you have the spreading patch of spring flowers to be reminded of it every year……. And I share this with you too, my daughters are the greatest gifts in my life and I know how blessed I am to be able to say that. We are fortunate mamas!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoy the energy in this. Every sentence says I am reading about something very Important to you. And I enjoy your style of writing very much (I don’t think I had started to read your blog yet last April).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Giving Voice to My Astonishment and commented:

    This is a Mother’s Day story about bluets and all those other “things” that aren’t really “things.” I don’t want fancy or expensive presents as an expression of my daughters’ love on Mother’s Day. I want my daughters to be kind, compassionate, courageous, caring, and joyful human beings and to spend time with me when they can. Because in the end, as this story demonstrates, it really is the simple things that are remembered all these many years later. I bet many others would agree with this. (Originally posted April 19, 2017.)


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