There’s not much on this sweet green earth that I love more than gardenias. They are my all time favorite flower (with sunflowers coming in close second place). The aroma is so sweet and nostalgic and will always remind me of summers spent at my grandparents house where the tea was extra sweet, we were fed some of the best home cooking, and we always got to have a later bedtime. I remember my granny has always had a long row of probably around ten gardenia bushes and she would send me out to the yard with a bucket, a pair of scissors, and just one rule: clip as many as you want. There was always this sense of abundance. Like the flowers would never run out, the garden would always be robust with vegetables and the refrigerator always overflowing with the best left overs. You got to eat pie after lunch and spend those blazing hot Georgia afternoons on the porch, painting nails and watching Judge Judy without a single care in the world. Sometimes, my granny would even let us go into her craft room and teach us how to sew or let us paint gourds. We played dress up in her closet and pretended her slips were wedding dresses. We got to pick out movies we wouldn’t normally be allowed to watch. We got to visit pops workshop and learn how to fix stuff. We listened to pop snore across the hall while we giggled. We played hide and seek in this magical home away from home. Life there was humble and simple but far from insignificant.
I’m so thankful that my kids are getting to have these same experiences in that same house and create memories of their own with grandparents and great grandparents. They have been getting to do that this weekend in fact! My grandparents taught me a lot about slow living and I’m glad I got to grow up with that experience. These seemingly small things, like clipping gardenias or learning how to make deviled eggs, are some of the moments most ingrained in my memory. I hold them so dear. It brings me so much delight to smell the fragrance of a gardenia wafting through the air because it brings me back to these moments. The reason I’m telling you this is as a reminder that the little things matter. The daily rituals, the Friday night is pizza night, the time spent gardening, the time you spend teaching your kids how to bake that cake or do a paint by number, all of these things weave together a much larger experience.
As a working mom, I have a really hard time turning off my auto pilot mode. I’m constantly sprinting from one task to the next, out of breath and out of energy. But the more I look for those moments of stillness, those pockets throughout the day where I can plant seeds of love and memories, where I can slow down and be a kid with my kids, the happier we are. The more fulfilled and enriched my life is and theirs. It’s not about grand gestures, it’s about finding the magic in the small and the mundane. But it doesn’t happen on its own. We have to create that space, to be intentional in our daily habits, to be mindful of how we are spending our time and go the little extra mile to give our kids a bucket and send them out to the gardenia bushes.
And now a few shots from our slowing down to go strawberry picking. How do you plan to slow down this week?
Thanks for reading along and have a fabulous week!