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Duce's Wild: Mom, all flowers remind me of you

Published: Thursday, May 10 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Apple blossoms are a welcome addition to my collection of sparkling rocks and wood chips given to me daily by my 4-year-old daughter and sparks new hope that she'll sing the Primary song lyrics "Dear Mother, all flowers remind me of you" and mean it.

Stacie Duce

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Not long ago my 4-year-old daughter came running inside with an infinitesimal first blossom of the season. In her chubby fingers, she delicately protected a thread-size stem bearing three tiny white petals presumably from some noxious weed.

“A flower for you mommy!” she exclaimed.

I stopped everything to admire her treasure and carefully placed it in my collection of her daily gifts of colorful rocks, “beautiful” wood chips and dried autumn leaves.

All winter long when I pick her up from preschool, she exuberantly empties her pocket to offer another uniquely designed wood chip from the playground symbolizing her thoughts of me while we’re apart for two hours.

I always hope to be the kind of mom whose kids could sing the lyrics to the LDS Primary tune “I Often Go Walking” and mean it: “Dear Mother all flowers remind me of you.” But in my pursuit of positive mothering, I don’t turn away the notion that even bland, coarse wood chips could remind my daughter of her mom’s affection.

Thank heavens for spring and opportunities to add apple blossoms, dandelions and daffodils to my collection.

I was the substitute music teacher in Primary last Sunday. The children, like many Mormon kids living in countries who observe Mother’s Day this week, were preparing to sing a chorus of songs to their moms in church.

As we worked through the difficult stanzas of the second verse of “I Often Go Walking,” I was overcome with the vivid memory of the first time I heard this Primary song performed.

I was 9 years old sitting next to my mother in a Bountiful, Utah, chapel witnessing the strength of seven brave children standing and singing “I Often Go Walking” as a tribute to their young mother who had passed away.

Lynne Mathews was a loving friend and mentor to my mother when we lived in South Dakota and they stayed close after both moving to Utah. As I listened to her children sing near her flower-covered casket and watched tears stream down my mom’s cheeks, a deep appreciation penetrated my young heart. In a new mature way, I felt true gratitude for the blessing of a mom to wake me with a kiss each morning, to brush my long blonde hair and to teach me all the things I needed to know to be happy.

I doubt from that day to this I’ve ever shown my mom the extent of my gratitude experienced at a funeral as an impressionable little girl. But through the years, flowers have been one of my gifts of love. Remnants of red tulips I planted as a sassy teenager still bloom in her flowerbeds.

My mom adored the message recently shared by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, about forget-me-not flowers. Inside the front cover of his new book that arrived in my mailbox this week, Mom wrote that his powerful words "seared my soul and will always be with me."

As a result, they'll always be with me as well and another blue blossom will signify memories of my mom's legacy of faith.

So if you “often go walking in meadows of clover” either in real life or in your imagination; if you “gather armfuls of blossoms of blue” through Texas blue bonnet fields, on high-mountain trails of lupine or near big-city planters of pansies; let’s all give thanks for moms, imperfections and all.

And in some small way, try to show it.

Stacie Lloyd Duce is a columnist and magazine editor featured regularly in several Montana and Utah publications. Her columns appear Thursdays on www.desnews.com. EMAIL: duceswild7@gmail.com

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